Abel Makkonen Tesfaye (born February 16, 1990), known professionally as the Weeknd, is a Canadian singer-songwriter and record producer. Known for his sonic versatility and dark lyricism, Tesfaye's music explores escapism, romance, and melancholia, and is often inspired by personal experiences. He has received numerous accolades, including three Grammy Awards, nineteen Billboard Music Awards, fifteen Juno Awards, six American Music Awards, two MTV Video Music Awards, and an Academy Award nomination.
Born and raised in Toronto, Tesfaye began his recording career in 2009 by anonymously releasing music on YouTube. Two years later, he co-founded the XO record label and released the critically acclaimed mixtapes House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence, quickly gaining recognition for his dark style of contemporary and alternative R&B, and for the mystique surrounding his identity. In 2012, Tesfaye signed with Republic Records and re-released the mixtapes in the compilation album Trilogy. His debut studio album Kiss Land was released in 2013, which saw him experiment with dark wave. His chamber pop and R&B single "Earned It", from the soundtrack to the film Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Tesfaye earned major critical and commercial success with his second studio album Beauty Behind the Madness (2015); it became his first number one album on the US Billboard 200, and became one of the year's best-selling albums, while the singles "Can't Feel My Face" and "The Hills" topped the US Billboard Hot 100. Beauty Behind the Madness also won the Grammy Award for Best Urban Contemporary Album and was nominated for Album of the Year. His third studio album Starboy (2016), which included the number-one single of the same name, saw similar commercial success. Like its predecessor, Starboy won the Grammy Award for Best Urban Contemporary Album. Tesfaye explored new wave and dream pop with his acclaimed fourth studio album After Hours (2020), which featured the number-one singles "Heartless" and "Save Your Tears", as well as the chart record-setting "Blinding Lights". His dance-pop inspired fifth studio album Dawn FM (2022) was also acclaimed, and included the US top-ten single "Take My Breath".
Among the world's best-selling music artists, with over 75 million records sold, Tesfaye holds several streaming and Billboard chart records. He is the first artist to simultaneously debut on the top three on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, while "Blinding Lights" is the longest-charting song in Billboard history. Considered an influential figure in contemporary popular music, Tesfaye was listed by Time as one of the world's most influential people in 2020.