The Weeknd opens up to Rolling Stone.
It's rare Abel Tesfaye details the inner-workings of his mind, but the 25-year-old is sharing his insight. He talks about starting out with mixtapes, meeting Taylor Swift, not finishing school and more. Here are the highlights:
Future album plans:
People tell me I'm changing the culture. I already can't turn on the radio. I think I'm gonna drop one more album, one more powerful body of work, then take a little break — go to Tokyo or Ethiopia or some shit.
Starting out with his new persona as The Weeknd:
I wasn't in shape. I wasn't a pretty boy. I was awkward as fuck. I didn't like the way I looked in pictures — when I saw myself on a digital camera, I was like, 'Eesh.'
The initial mixtapes:
It definitely changed the culture. No one can do a trilogy again without thanking the Weeknd. A lot of artists started doing things faster and quicker after that: Justin Timberlake dropped two albums in a year, Beyoncé dropped a surprise album…I’m not gonna say any names, but just listen to the radio. Every song is House of Balloons 2.0.
Meeting Taylor Swift:
She actually schooled me on my own shit. She was like, ‘I’ve been listening to ‘The Morning’ [from House of Balloons] for years — it’s one of my favorite songs ever!’ I mean, she might have just Googled it. But she seemed genuine…But the whole time she was talking, she was kind of, like, petting my hair? I think she was just drawn to it — she must have been a little gone off a few drinks. And of course I’m not going to be like, ‘Hey, can you stop?’ I mean, it felt good! But when she started petting my hair, that’s when I was like, ‘I definitely need a drink.'
Not finishing high school:
Me not finishing school — in my head, I still have this insecurity when I'm talking to someone educated. I don't want them looking at me like this fucking retard — no disrespect.
The next single, “In The Night”:
If it works, it’s going to be huge. It’s like that load that you’re trying to hold in — I’m just waiting for the money shot.
I want to be remembered as iconic and different," he says. "So I was like, 'Fuck it — I'm gonna let my hair just be what it wants.' I'll probably cut it if it starts interfering with my sight. I can kind of see it right now. But if I cut it, I'd look like everyone else. And that's just so boring to me.
Sex in his music:
I mean, no girl has ever actually rained, but if that's not what you mean, then yeah. I don't want to sound like that guy where sex is not an obstacle. But I've had a lot of sex.
Some people are like, ‘Oh, yeah, just sell out and do pop music.’ So you fucking do it, then! It’s not easy. Can I be honest with you? What all these kids are doing right now? I could do that in my sleep. I listen to it, and it doesn’t test me at all…But pop music? That shit’s hard, dude.
We live in an era when everything is so excessive, I think it’s refreshing for everybody to be like, ‘Who the fuck is this guy?’ I think that’s why my career is going to be so long: Because I haven’t given people everything.
Fear of failing:
I think the worst thing anyone can say about an artist is, 'He could have been great.' I was always scared of being that guy where it's like, 'He could have been big. He could have been a star.' I was afraid I'd see somebody else up there and be like, 'You're trying to tell me they're better than me? Why? Because they've got a couple of smash records? I can do smashes. I could figure it out.' And to be honest with you, it's been, what, a couple of years now? And it feels great. I feel great.