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Sep 30, 2015
Allegedly “shrouded in mystery” despite social media presence (with accompanying photos) on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Soundcloud, and YouTube, as well as major support from fellow Torontonian Drake, alternative R&B act the Weeknd — a solo outlet for vocalist Abel Tesfaye — surfaced in March 2011 with House of Balloons. A nine-track, 50-minute mixtape made available for free download on the Weeknd website, House of Balloons was based in morose ballads filled with drug references and sexual longing.
Sonically, there were clear traces of radio-friendly contemporary R&B à la Trey Songz, Jeremih, the-Dream, and Drake, while appealing to listeners who favored left-of-center, production-over-songcraft exponents like Spacek and Sa-Ra. The mixtape, made by Tesfaye in collaboration with producers Doc McKinney and Illangelo, among others, garnered widespread coverage — most of which was gushingly positive — within days of its March 21 release. A second mixtape, Thursday (August 19), preceded several appearances on Drake's album Take Care. Echoes of Silence (December 21), the third Weeknd mixtape, followed just before the end of the year.The following June, "Crew Love," off Take Care, reached the Top Ten of Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart. A few months later, he was featured on another charting single, Wiz Khalifa's "Remember You."
After signing to Universal Republic, the three Weeknd mixtapes were remastered and bundled with three new songs for Trilogy, issued in November 2012; "Wicked Games" became the first proper Weeknd song to chart in the U.S.
This Grammy Award®-nominated, multi-platinum selling artist and alternative R&B trend-setter has recently released his anxiously-awaited third full-length album, Beauty Behind The Madness [XO/Republic Records] to rave reviews and a Billboard 200 #1 debut. The album moved in excess of 412K album equivalents, and debuted at #1 on the Apple Music overall albums chart in over 70 countries and Top 10 in nearly 100. The album is the first to surpass over 100 million global audio streams with over 80 million plays from Spotify, breaking their U.S. and global record for most streams in a single week.
The Weeknd also recently achieved a Billboard first when he claimed the top three slots on the Billboard Hot R&B Songs as “Can’t Feel My Face”, “The Hills” and “Earned It” hit #1, #2 and #3 respectively.
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