Spotlight: 6 Things You Didn’t Know About The Weeknd

“Ethiopian music was the music I grew up on,” The Weeknd (Abel Makkonen Tesfaye) said in an interview. “Artists like Tilahun Gessesse, Aster Aweke, and Mahmoud Ahmed. These are my subconscious inspirations. ‘The Hills’ was the first time you actually heard the Ethiopian language in my music.” (Photo: @theweekend/instagram)

6ix Buzz

Abel Makkonen Tesfaye started out as a quiet mysterious artist from the 6ix, but eventually grew to become one of the greatest artists of our generations.

With multiple albums under his belt, and with his most recent album “Dawn FM” to add to the collection, the Scarborough native shows no sign of slowing down.

Here are six things you didn’t know about The Weeknd.

1. He is very proud of his Ethiopian heritage

Abel Tesfaye was born to Ethiopian immigrants in Scarborough. He was raised mostly by his mother and his grandmother, which is why the first language he learned was Amharic.

He’s shared in interviews that as he grew older, he learned that his heritage acted as subconscious inspiration.

“Ethiopian music was the music I grew up on,” he told VMan in an interview. “Artists like Tilahun Gessesse, Aster Aweke, and Mahmoud Ahmed. These are my subconscious inspirations. ‘The Hills’ was the first time you actually heard the Ethiopian language in my music.”

2. He and a few other XO members founded a creative arts incubator in Toronto

A few years ago, The Weeknd and business partners La Mar Taylor and Ahmed Ismail launched an incubator in Toronto. Their goal was to create a place that could help encourage young creatives to chase their passions, the same way they did when they were younger.

The founders are responsible for many creative advancements locally and nationally, even participating in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement of $221 million to support Black business.

The positive changes made by HXOUSE don’t include the several hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions, that The Weeknd has donated on the side.

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