Born Abel Tesfaye near Toronto, Canada, his journey to superstardom began in 2010, when he uploaded an assortment of songs to YouTube under the name ‘The Weeknd’. They were so well-received that in 2011 he went on to release three nine-track mixtapes, all of which enjoyed critical acclaim: House of Balloons, Thursday and Echoes of Silence.
In 2012 the Weeknd signed with Republic Records in a joint venture with XO, his own label, and released Trilogy, a thirty-track compilation album. It charted at No. 4 on the U.S. Billboard 200, and in May 2013 Trilogy was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Later that year the Weeknd’s first studio album, Kiss Land, came out. It featured the hit singles ‘Belong to the World’ and ‘Live For’ featuring Drake. Kiss Land was well-received by critics and debuted at No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard 200, but it was the Weeknd’s second album, Beauty Behind the Madness (August 2015), that gave him a place in music history.
Beauty Behind the Madness was his first number one album on the Billboard 200, and included the chart-topping ‘Earned It’, ‘The Hills’, and ‘Can’t Feel My Face’. These songs occupied the top three spots of the Billboard Hot R&B Songs chart, making the Weeknd the first performer to achieve such an honour.
Other highlights include contributing the single ‘Devil May Cry’ to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack. Another song, Earned It, was released as a single from the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack and peaked at peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Weeknd has collaborated with Ariana Grande (‘Love Me Harder’), Belly (‘Might Not’), Meek Mill (‘Pullin’ Up’), Travis Scott (‘Pray 4 Love’) and Disclosure (‘Nocturnal’).
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