Abel Tesfaye (born February 16, 1990), better known by his stage name The Weeknd is an Ethiopian Canadian singer. Songs recorded under The Weeknd name first leaked in late 2010, though the identity of the individual behind the project was initially unknown.
The Weeknd released a nine-song mixtape, House of Balloons, on 21 March 2011. The mixtape is a part of a trilogy which includes Thursday, released on 18 August 2011, and Echoes of Silence, to be released in the autumn.
The song "High for This" was featured in the promo for the final season of the HBO show Entourage. On June 16, 2011, House of Balloons was named as a longlisted nominee for the 2011 Polaris Music Prize. On July 6, the album was named as one of ten shortlisted nominees but eventually lost to Arcade Fire's The Suburbs.
In late 2010, Abel Tesfaye uploaded three songs: "What You Need," "Loft Music," and "The Morning" to YouTube. A nine-track album titled House of Balloons was digitally released on 21 March 2011 through the artist's official website.Hip-hop artist Drake has been partly credited for generating public awareness for The Weeknd, after he quoted a line from the track "Wicked Games" via Twitter and linked to the singer's music on his website.
In a review of the House of Balloons album, Pitchfork Media's Joe Colly wrote that "all the thematic and sonic pieces fit together - these weird, morning-after tales of lust, hurt, and over-indulgence ... are matched by this incredibly lush, downcast music. It's hard to think of a record since probably The xx's debut ... that so fully embodies such a specific nocturnal quality."
Frontier Psychiatrist's L.V. Lopez claimed the album was "brilliant, disturbing, and not safe for work," calling the song "Loft Music" a song that is "so unsafe it should come with a child-proof cap, so dirty that you’ll feel guilty the next time you see your wife." Tom Ewing of The Guardian said that although the singing and songwriting on House of Balloons "aren't especially strong by R&B standards," the Weeknd is receiving "so much attention" as a result of its "command of mood."
Sean Fennessey of The Village Voice called the album "impressive" and added, "It's patient, often gorgeous, and consistently louche ... with the sort of blown-out underbelly and echo-laden crooning that has already made Drake's less-than-a-year-old Thank Me Later such an influential guidepost." Maegan McGregor of Exclaim! praised the album: "Packed full of sex, drugs and some downright killer production, this easily stands as one of the year's best debuts so far, hipster, Top 40 or otherwise." Sputnik Music's Tyler Fisher said that "despite being a free mixtape, House of Balloons feels like a true album, a true labor of love." The title track samples Siouxsie and the Banshees' 1980 single "Happy House."
To promote his 2nd mixtape, Thursday, The Weeknd released 2 buzz singles, "Rolling Stone", "The Birds Part 1", and a remix to Drake's "Trust Issues". Around this time material was leaked from The Weeknd's previous works when associated with the production team, The Noise.
On August 17, 2011, he released promo artwork for the mixtape and on the following day, released the mixtape. The mixtape had over 180,000 downloads on its first day. Due to so many downloads, his website crashed prompting him to release the mixtape via alternate leaks and music sharing sites.
The Weeknd was recently commissioned by Florence & The Machine to remix their single "Shake It Out" off their album Ceremonials. Tesfaye released a new track entitled Initiation, on October 8, 2011 which will appear on Echoes Of Silence.
Illangelo announced The Weeknd "has been tapped to contribute a remix of one of Lady Gaga's Born This Way hits to her forthcoming 14-track collection, Born This Way: The Remix due out November 21." On November 2 a remix called 'The Weeknd & Illangelo Remix' of her single "Marry the Night" was released on the internet.
He was featured on the Track "Crew Love" from Drake's album Take Care. He was credited for writing on five songs of the same album ("Shot for Me", "Crew Love", "Cameras", "Practice" and "The Ride")