The Weeknd cites COVID-19 and BLM as inspirations for next album
A full year hasn’t even elapsed since The Weeknd released his acclaimed After Hours LP and the Canadian pop star (lesser known as Abel Makkonen Tesfaye) is already talking about his next full-length project. Despite the Grammy Award-winning artist being snubbed for the album at the forthcoming 2021 ceremony postponed for March, and subsequently canceling his performance slot, he’s choosing instead to focus on the future and moving toward manifesting his next sonic vision.
Recently, the Weeknd opened up to TMRW over how his next studio album, while still in the early planning stages, was directly inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. Art does have an uncanny way of responding to the cultural conditions of the time, after all, so the statements hardly come across as surprising. In the interview, Tesfaye says the following:
“I have been more inspired and creative during the pandemic than I might normally be while on the road, the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement and the tensions of the election have mostly created a sense of gratitude for what I have, and closeness with the people near me.”– The Weeknd
The singer also looked back at how After Hours was one his career’s best works. Reflecting on his upbringing, the Scarborough-raised singer looks back at how his ethnic heritage and cultural roots, shaped by his immigrant parents coming to Canada from Ethiopia, heavily influenced his hit records. “My natural singing voice was inspired and shaped by Ethiopian music,” he said.
“The older I got, I was exposed to more music, and my voice became a chameleon going into different characters with each album. By following my own path and breaking industry norms, it seems to be influencing others.”– The Weeknd
Not only does the interview come as an exciting tidbit for long-time fans, the details also come on the heels of The Weeknd being named the most-streamed male artist in the world by Spotify‘s 2020 Wrapped, a yearly recap that details the Stockholm-based platform’s top songs, albums, and artists based on the numbers.
Information seeker. Dog dad. PhD drop out. Avid collector of pashminas, plants, and experiences. College professor by day, EDM photographer by night.