Does the Weeknd Use Autotune?

The Weeknd uses different degrees of autotune in his songs. In the studio, he uses slight autotune to fix his mistakes and enhance his vocals. In some songs, he uses heavy autotune for a robotic effect. In concerts, he also uses subtle autotune and pre-recorded back vocals to help with some parts.

In an interview with the production partner of The Weeknd, Carlo Montagnese, he clearly says that they regularly use autotune effects. “The chain starts with Auto–Tune EFX, which is an older version that pulls the vocal in a slightly different way than the newer versions.

It’s funny: if you don’t pull a vocal through Auto–Tune these days, it almost does not sound normal! So you have to use it, though I apply it very subtly.”


The Weeknd’s famous song “Sidewalks” is one of the pieces in which he used heavy autotune to have a robotic voice, as Cher did many years ago, which started the autotune tradition in mainstream music. Instead of subtle pitch correction, this type of autotune use aims for a robotic singing effect, just like the way Daft Punk’s style of autotune use.


However, most singers today, including The Weeknd, use autotune to correct their mistakes in the studio and on the stage, making things easier for the singers. This comparison video clearly shows how he uses autotune to cover his mistakes, smoothen and enhance his vocals. 

The Weeknd: "Blinding Lights"The Weeknd: “Blinding Lights”

With autotune, especially the high pitch notes are easier to hit and sing, which is challenging for most singers, as they are often a bit pitchy with these types of notes. 

If you listen to the chorus of his live performance singing his song Blinding Lights, you can hear that he is slightly out of tune. He sings a bit flatter than he is supposed to.

It seems like he uses autotune also live but not to the point that it makes the vocals perfect and sound inauthentic. He mainly relies on his own voice when singing live.

He also uses pre-recorded backing vocals in his live shows, as can be heard in the Blinding Lights performance. This way, his voice is dubbed by a choir of pre-recorded vocals, making it easier for him to sing and more tolerant against mistakes.

The Weeknd Featured Image by: The Come Up Show, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons