The singer says that he is thinking about giving up his stage persona.
The Weeknd as the world knows him -- could be coming to an end!
In the latest edition of W Magazine, the singer -- whose real name is Abel Tesfaye -- hints that his run as his longtime stage persona could be coming to an end.
"I’m going through a cathartic path right now,” the "Starboy" musician says inside of the magazine. "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 Weeknd has been performing under the moniker since 2009. Through the duration of his career, the Toronto native has released five studio albums -- with four charting at No. 1. The singer has also won four GRAMMYs despite notably boycotting the awards in 2021.
According to The Weeknd, he experienced an event that put his career in perspective while shooting his upcoming HBO series, The Idol -- with Lily-Rose Depp. In the series, the 33-year-old plays a nightclub owner, Tedros, who falls for a complicated pop star, Jocelyn (Depp). While filming, The Weeknd faced the challenge of shooting a scene during his sold-out show at Los Angeles' SoFi Stadium.
In the moment, the singer had to shift from his onstage persona to his character in the show -- who isn't someone who sells out arenas. The shift proved challenging and came with consequences.
"I had to take off the Weeknd outfit, put on Tedros’ wig, shoot with Jocelyn, then go back to being The Weeknd," he says inside the publication about filming at his show. "It was tough to go from one head to another. Then, after the concert, I lost my voice. No voice came out at all. That’s never happened before."
He continued, "My theory is that I forgot how to sing because I was playing Tedros, a character who doesn’t know how to sing. I may be looking too deeply into this, but it was terrifying. As The Weeknd, I’ve never skipped a concert. I’ve performed with the flu. I’ll die on that stage. But there was something very complicated going on with my mind at that moment."
Speaking more on that moment, the "Blinding Lights" singer shared how losing his voice due to acting put his career and creativity into perspective.
"My secret skill is that I don’t panic,” he added about the show. "When everyone around me is worried, I get very still. But I did panic when I lost my voice. I had to rest and reflect and think about The Weeknd and Tedros and all that had happened with the show. I realized that I need to know that I’ve made the best version of whatever I’m making. It was a challenge to redo The Idol, and, in truth, I sacrificed my health and home to make it work. So, let’s say it comes out and it’s f****g horrible. I still know I did my absolute best."
Adding, "From what I’ve seen, the show is great. Everything is a risk: When you’ve done the best you can, I would call that a happy ending. And I got my voice back."
Reflecting on the start of his career, The Weeknd shares that he enjoyed the mystery that came with his persona when he first began making music. As he star rose and more people began to recognize him, he had to make a change.
"In the beginning of my career, I didn’t show myself at all. I didn’t want to be famous. For the first two years, no one knew what I looked like," he tells W. "I went from 'No one knows who I am' to 'Nobody has that hair except The Weeknd.' I was always trying to hide it. When I finally decided to cut it, everybody said, 'Don’t do it!' That gave me more reasons to do it. I was so identified with that hair that I had to cut it. I didn’t want to be known for just this or just that."
As for signing off as The Weeknd, the "Save Your Tears" singer hints that he is putting his all into what could be his final project under the moniker.
"The album I’m working on now is probably my last hurrah as The Weeknd," he said. "This is something that I have to do. As The Weeknd, I’ve said everything I can say."