The Weeknd


The last thing you want is to not be recognized for all of the hard work you put in.

'Eastern Promises' is great.

Nothing is stopping me from doing what I love to do.

'Thursday' is a conceptual album. Whatever that situation was, I spent the whole album focusing on that situation.

Let's be honest. Canada wasn't ever cool.

I don't think I'd ever apologise for music I make, no.

I was everything an R&B singer wasn't. I wasn't in shape. I wasn't a pretty boy.

I want to be remembered as iconic and different.

I just kept touring and touring until it became second nature to go onstage, perform, and sing.

'House of Balloons' was actually supposed to have more songs than it does.

I've grown accustomed to hotels and drastic climate change.

I wrote a song with Ed Sheeran that was kind of spontaneous.

For me, bomber jackets are smart, but they are also street and have a lot of attitude.

My mother, my grandmother, my uncles would play Ethiopian artists like Aster Aweke and Mulatu Astatke all the time in the house.

Going to a therapist is not something you do when you're growing up as a street kid in Toronto.

When I was making the early stuff, I never expected it to be so big. I was in my own kind of bubble. I never wanted to tour; I just wanted to create music and make a diary I could put out into the world. And sometimes, I became the characters.

I feel like I'm changing pop culture.

Image, lyrics, content, storytelling, cohesive body of work - that's Prince to me.

Prince turned experimental music into pop music. 'When Doves Cry,' the whole 'Purple Rain' soundtrack - he was inspired by the Cocteau Twins and new wave pop and brought it into R&B when he first started, and then it became this cool, next-level, kind of hard-to-digest music. Which is what I felt 'House of Balloons' was.

To be recognized for the hard work my team and I put into 'Starboy' is an honor.

Once you've changed who you are or who you've portrayed in your music, the fans, they'll catch it... Once I feel like the world knows me for anything else but my music, then I feel like I failed.

I don't believe in icons.

Even though I've been putting out bodies of work for years, 'Beauty Behind the Madness' felt like the beginning.

I feel like I'm the kind of guy that would have kids before getting married. The first thing would be kids.

The Internet, man, is a beautiful thing.

I'm pretty laid-back in real life. I just love hanging with my friends and making jokes. The jokes don't stop - literally, all day.

'House of Balloons' was special because I had no deadlines, and nobody knew me, so there were no expectations. Spent a year making it perfect. Every song had at least, like, 7 different versions to them before picking the right one.

You aren't normal if you sing to people. You aren't a normal person. It's nerve-racking.

I mean... in life... what relationship is easy?

I sang a lot of low stuff on songs like 'Secrets' and 'Rockin',' almost like Toni Braxton. On 'Secrets,' I'm a different person.

The Joker is my favorite villain of all time: You don't know his past; you just know what his plans are.

I just love Bowie. I think he's the ultimate inventor.

The Joker that Christopher Nolan created in 'The Dark Knight' had the scar across his mouth, and the first time you heard his explanation for it, he makes you believe that's how he got it. But then you get into the film, and every time he talks about his scar, it's a totally different story.

'Kiss Land' wasn't about what people wanted to hear on the radio. It was the state of mind I was in - introverted, like David Cronenberg's 'Naked Lunch.' You didn't know if you were hearing a chorus or a verse. It was just my thoughts.

I make good music for long journeys.

I've had sleep paralysis.

'Kiss Land' is the story after 'Trilogy'; it's pretty much the second chapter of my life. The narrative takes place after my first flight; it's very foreign, very Asian-inspired. When people ask me, 'Why Japan?' I simply tell them it's the furthest I've ever been from home. It really is a different planet.

I love trying new things.

When people meet me, they say that I'm really kind - contrary to a lot of my music.

I want to make pop cool again, and the only way I can do that is by being ambitious and grand.

I couldn't ever go back home without being something. I probably would never have gone back home. That was definitely a big motivation. To get back home, and not empty-handed.

I'm a studio rat.

When you're traveling constantly, every day you become inspired, and it shows in my work, sonically, lyrically, visually. Conversations with women with different accents and stories told in those accents. I like to create characters based on different people I've met, and relationships. I like to tell stories loosely based on real-life events.

Environment is very important to me. Sometimes I have to perform during the day for festivals, and my music does not work in the daytime. It is nighttime music.

It's almost schizophrenic who I portray in my music.

The whole 'enigmatic artist' thing, I just ran with it.

'Trilogy' was more of a claustrophobic body of work. Before it was released, I hadn't left my city for 21 years, and I had never been on a plane, not once. I spent my entire life on one setting; that's probably why pieces of the album feel like one long track, because that's what my life felt like. It felt like one long song.

I feel like everything we do comes down to how it looks. Even no branding is branding. For example, you had no face or image to put to my music at first. That was branding.

I was very camera shy. People like hot girls, so I put my music to hot girls and it just became a trend. The whole 'enigmatic artist' thing, I just ran with it. No one could find pictures of me.

All I do is make music.

The effect of music on fashion has been immense, especially hip-hop and urban music.

I wanted to drop three albums in a year because no one had done it. It was bold, unheard of.

'Kiss Land' is like a horror movie.

At one point, I didn't care. Now I want as many people to hear my music as possible.

OVOXO will always be there.

I feel like the way I was raised was to be able to see through all the titles in this world - from religion to race.

I was 14, and I fell in love with Pink Floyd.

For my generation, the bomber jacket is like a replacement for the suit jacket. It's a piece that men wear every day, and it's something that I would wear for any occasion, whether it's on the street or going to an awards ceremony.

People always say when they meet me that I'm not what they expect. I assume they think I'm this super dark and depressing guy, but I like to channel all of those emotions into my work.

Nothing feels better than going onstage and everybody is singing every word - and actually wanting to see you.

I'm the most boring person to talk to.

Me not finishing school - in my head, I still have this insecurity when I'm talking to someone educated.

Music is like film to me.

I'm a huge fan of R. Kelly's. He's a musical genius and probably the most prolific artist of the generation before mine.

When you come to my show, I want it to feel like opera, like a theatre.

I wish I could make music about politics. I feel like it's such an art and a talent that I admire tremendously, but when I step into the studio, I step out of the real world, and it's therapeutic.

When I write, I write about my surroundings. Sometimes it's light, and sometimes it gets very dark.

If you ever see young artists, and they're not sounding good, they sound good. They're good singers. They wouldn't be where they are if they didn't sound good. It's their nerves. Any time you see your favorite artist, and he's or she's screwing up or not hitting those notes, it's not because she can't hit it or she can't sing; he or she is scared.

I always hated how I looked on camera. I never put a face to my music, which actually made the music that much more mysterious.

I usually don't like to 'spoon feed' my audience, because I grew up idolizing story tellers who tell stories using symbolism, so it was in my nature to do the same.

It's hard to wrap my head around the fact that there are people who can't or won't see what Black Lives Matter is trying to accomplish.

I knew the second I finished the first record - 'House Of Balloons' - and had all this material leftover that a trilogy would be best.

In the beginning, I was very insecure. I hated how I looked in pictures.

My production and songwriting and the environment around those vocals are not inspired by R&B at all.

I'm all about surprises. If you watch a horror movie, and it's called 'Kiss Land,' it's probably going to be the most terrifying thing you've ever seen in your life.

For the chorus of 'Secrets,' we used The Romantics' 'Talking in Your Sleep' and 'Pale Shelter' by Tears for Fears. It's like hip-hop: just grab it.

When I was performing the songs on 'Kiss Land,' it was a great singalong. But there were moments where I realized some parts were catchier than the others. There's maybe two choruses on all of 'Kiss Land.'

For an Ethiopian mother, if you have a chubby kid, it means you're doing something good.

When I was born, that was the music my mother was listening to. Michael Jackson is a third parent to me.

Marriage is scary to me, man.

I have a good team. It's good to have a good team.

I'm trying to get to Mars before everyone else.

My inspiration is R. Kelly, Michael Jackson, and Prince - for the vocals, anyway.

I get naturally uncomfortable when I'm put under a magnifying glass.

I probably could have toured off 'Trilogy' for the rest of my life. It definitely changed the culture. No one can do a trilogy again without thanking The Weeknd.

I think that's why my career is going to be so long: Because I haven't given people everything.

Bragging just sounds good, man.

Thanks to my fans that have been with me from the beginning, I was able to sell out arenas on my own.

The game is changing with songs like 'Earned It' as opposed to it changing me.

I spend just as much time on how people hear my music as I do the actual music, no matter how long it takes. I'm such a visual artist as well that it always goes hand-in-hand.

Going home helps the content.

We're all insecure, aren't we? I'm not walking around like I'm macho man or anything.

My closet is like Bart Simpson's.

I'm all about evolution. I'm the first person to judge myself.

From when I was born to when I was 21, I never left Toronto. That's why I'm such a city cat.

I always use Michael as, first and foremost, a vocal inspiration, and 'Off the Wall' was definitely the one that made me feel like I could sing.

The mind of a 19-year-old is very different from the mind of a 26-year-old. You grow. You get into better relationships. You experience more, meet more people, better people. But when you're in a dark hole at an earlier point in your life - you write about the mindset you're in at that moment.

The vibe on 'Starboy' comes from that hip-hop culture of braggadocio, from Wu-Tang and 50 Cent, the kind of music I listened to as a kid.

I didn't like the way I looked in pictures - when I saw myself on a digital camera, I was like, 'Eesh.'

Literally wrote 'Starboy' in 30 minutes.

I just want to keep pushing the envelope without it feeling forced.

I'm mainstream.

Taylor Swift's audience can listen to me, but so can the street kids. I want to touch it all.

I want to produce the music to a movie that I'm working on, like what Prince did with 'Purple Rain.'

Alternative R&B is in my soul. It's not going anywhere.

I didn't have a father figure in the house.

All of my music is honest.

A chorus is not easy.

My purpose is to make exciting music, and I feel like I'll be doing that for the rest of my life, so there's no pressure.