Is The Weeknd retiring? Singer opens up on future of iconic stage moniker 

The Weeknd performs at the "After Hours Til Dawn" Tour at FedEx Field on July 30, 2022 in Landover, MD (Image via Getty Images)
The Weeknd performs at the "After Hours Til Dawn" Tour at FedEx Field on July 30, 2022 in Landover, MD (Image via Getty Images)

The Weeknd has announced that he will be retiring his stage name in the near future in an exclusive interview on W magazine along with his upcoming HBO show, The Idol, co-star Lily Rose Depp on May 8, 2023. The singer and actor said that he was looking to remake his image, stating:

"I’m going through a cathartic path right now. It’s getting to a place and a time where I’m getting ready to close the Weeknd chapter, I’ll still make music, maybe as Abel, maybe as The Weeknd. But I still want to kill The Weeknd. And I will. Eventually. I’m definitely trying to shed that skin and be reborn."

The artist, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, has had an illustrious career in the music industry, spanning one live album, five albums, two greatest hit albums, three mixtapes, three EPs, and a whopping 68 singles, as per MSN.

He very recently also appeared in the role of Tedros in The Idol, an HBO series that he co-wrote and executive produced, as per PEOPLE. The show features other notable names like BLACKPINK's Jennie, Troye Sivan, Dan Levy, and more.

The Weeknd looking to go out with a "last hurrah"

The singer stated in the interview that he is working on the next and likely the final Weeknd album, the last in a trilogy that began with the 2020 album After Hours and continued with last year's Dawn FM:

"The album I’m working on now is probably my last hurrah as The Weeknd. This is something that I have to do. As The Weeknd, I’ve said everything I can say.”

The singer has not released any other details so far regarding the new album.

Other than his upcoming final album, he recently also released his first live album, Live at SoFi Stadium, on March 3, 2023. The album documents the 2022 SoFi Stadium concerts by the singer.

Meanwhile, he already seems to have started out on his journey of rebirth with his role as self-help guru and cult leader Tedros on HBO's upcoming show The Idol.

The singer was reportedly a driving force behind the conceptualization of the character of Tedros, with Sam Levinson of Euphoria fame tagging along with him during his time in Coachella. Levinson told W magazine:

“Abel came to us with a pitch. He said something that I’ll always remember: ‘If I wanted to start a cult, I could.’ What he meant is that his fans were so loyal and devoted that they would follow him anywhere. That was the germ of the idea for The Idol: what happens when a pop star falls for the wrong guy and no one speaks up."

Tracing Weeknd and his music career

Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, better known by his stage name The Weeknd, was born on February 16, 1990, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and began his career in August 2009 with anonymous music videos on Youtube, which attracted the attention of producer Jeremy Rose.

Together, they produced three tracks, followed by the singer's debut mixtape, House of Balloons, which was released for free on March 21, 2011, after he formed the label XO with Wassim "Sal" Slaiby and Amir "Cash" Esmailian.

The singer released his debut studio album, Kiss Land, on September 10, 2013. The album was a major chart success, peaking at number 2 on the Canadian album chart as well as the Billboard 200 album chart.

Following the success of his debut album, the singer released his second studio album, Beauty Behind the Madness, on August 28, 2015. The album was critically acclaimed upon release, winning the singer the Best Urban Contemporary Album award at the 2016 Grammy Awards.

The album was a commercial hit as well, peaking as a chart-topper on the Canadian, Australian, Swedish, UK as well as the Billboard 200 album chart. It also peaked at number 2 on the Danish, Dutch, and Kiwi album charts.

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Edited by Upasya Bhowal