How Did The Weeknd Get Famous?

The Weeknd rose to fame through a mix of enigmatic online presence and critical acclaim, initially uploading his music anonymously to YouTube. His identity was revealed after his mixtapes went viral, leading to major label record deals and collaborations that propelled him to stardom.

Things to Know: The Weeknd’s Rise to Fame

  • Initial Anonymity: The Weeknd began by sharing his music anonymously on YouTube, capturing listeners’ interest with his unique sound and mysterious persona.
  • Online Virality: His three mixtapes, collectively known as ‘Balloon Trilogy’, went viral, securing his position in the music scene and leading to major interest from record labels.
  • Strategic Partnerships: Collaborations with established artists evoked emotional connections with fans and helped him break into the mainstream.
  • Chart-Topping Hits: ‘The Hills’ and ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ were among the singles that earned The Weeknd mainstream success and a wider audience.
  • Awards and Recognition: His work has been acknowledged with numerous awards, further cementing his superstar status in the music industry.

1. Mysterious Beginnings and Tapping into the Spotlight

Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, initially caught the attention of listeners by anonymously uploading his songs to YouTube—a move that sparked intrigue and contributed to his early viral success.

Alongside producer Jeremy Rose, he created a sense of mystery that became a cornerstone of his image during this formative stage, prompting intense curiosity and engagement from the online music community.

  • Unique online strategy with anonymous uploads to YouTube helped The Weeknd stand out.
  • The blended talents of Abel Tesfaye and producer Jeremy Rose were central to the unique sound that caught early listeners’ attention.
  • Intrigue around The Weeknd’s identity fostered a strong sense of mystery and buzz, encouraging sharing and speculation across social platforms.
  • Early exposure to an international audience through online platforms set the stage for his subsequent ascent in the music industry.

2. Strategic Collaborations and Mainstream Breakthrough

Following The Weeknd’s initial intrigue, the rising star secured a co-sign from fellow Toronto artist Drake, which led to collaborative work that catapulted him towards mainstream awareness.

With the release of his critically acclaimed mixtape “House of Balloons” and the consequent “Trilogy” project, The Weeknd laid the groundwork for a trajectory that would redefine R&B music and cement his role in the industry.

  • A Drake co-sign elevated The Weeknd’s profile within the music community, leading to valuable exposure and credibility.
  • The release of the “House of Balloons” mixtape showcased his distinct sound, earning him critical acclaim and a growing fanbase.
  • “Trilogy”, a compilation of remastered mixtapes, marked The Weeknd’s transition from underground to a burgeoning mainstream artist.
  • His hit single “Earned It” from the “Fifty Shades of Grey” soundtrack became a pivotal moment, earning widespread admiration and solidifying his fame.
  • The strategic approach to collaborations and project release timings were key to his ascent, resonating with listeners and signaling his readiness for the global stage.
  • Each collaboration and project built on the last, incrementally pushing The Weeknd from the fringes of anonymity into the mainstream music scene.

3. Cementing Superstar Status

The Weeknd’s ascent to the upper echelons of the music industry was solidified by the success of his award-winning album “Starboy,” which brought a new dimension to his artistry and fame.

From global tours to a marquee Super Bowl LV halftime show, his consistent stream of hits and ventures into acting, such as his role in “Uncut Gems” and the HBO series “The Idol,” have firmly established him as a music superstar.

  • The Grammy-winning album “Starboy” served as a major milestone in The Weeknd’s career, garnishing international accolades and recognition.
  • Performing at Super Bowl LV represented a peak in his career, showcasing his widespread appeal and performance prowess to millions of viewers.
  • Embarking on global tours widened his reach, allowing him to connect with an extensive international audience.
  • The expansion into acting with a role in the critically acclaimed film “Uncut Gems” demonstrated his versatility and broadened his cultural impact.
  • The anticipation for his involvement in the HBO series “The Idol” reflects his sustained relevance in popular culture and the entertainment industry at large.
  • From chart-topping albums to crossing over into acting, The Weeknd’s continuous reinvention and boundary-pushing endeavors are hallmarks of a true superstar.

The Weeknd Featured Image by: Brian Ziff, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons