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Video: The Weeknd’s ‘Beauty Behind The Madness’ Show In Toronto

The Weeknd

After dropping his new album Beauty Behind The Madness here, The Weeknd performed in his hometown Toronto, CA. He also sat down with Pitchfork to talk about the album, new music and more. You can read the full story here.

Pitchfork: When did you first start to sing?
Able Tesfaye: I’ve been singing my whole life. I’d randomly sing in the hallways at high school, and all my friends would be like, ‘You should sing on ‘Canadian Idol’!” It definitely gassed me! So then I got a microphone and a shitty computer and started recording these corny songs with my friends, Boyz II Men covers and shit. I would listen to it and I thought I sounded OK, but I was still shy, you know? But playing arenas gave me that confidence, like, “Maybe I do have that star quality.” I still don’t feel like I’m 100% there yet, but I always knew I wanted to be a star ever since I knew that I could sing. I can never be Michael Jackson or do what he did, but he is definitely a good inspiration: I want to give the kids that feeling.

Pitchfork: What feeling is that exactly?
AT: When Michael died, it felt like part of my family died. I want [my fans] to know that my music is for them and if, god forbid, anything happened [to me], it would be like a piece of them is gone. That’s what he made me feel. That’s what I want to do. I’m grabbing that side of me and putting it out to the world—and the R. Kelly side, and the Prince side. All three are my inspirations, and you hear all of that on this album.

Pitchfork: What do you find musically interesting about Prince?
AT: Prince was always just pushing the envelope. Michael was doing that too, but he wasn’t as experimental. 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. Image, lyrics, content, storytelling, cohesive body of work: That’s Prince to me. Michael had cohesive bodies of work, but every song was its own song, and usually I can tell a story with my albums. R. Kelly is just a child of Michael and Prince; I want to be that of my generation. I mean, I hope I can be that.