For Millennials. By Millennials.
By 2021, The Weeknd has pretty much become a household name. He is an international star who dominated 2020 with his album After Hours and now 2021 with his iconic Super Bowl halftime performance. But, this kind of success was not what he had thought initially. In fact, he had a very difficult childhood as well as teens.
The Weeknd opens up about his difficult childhood
Born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, The Weeknd had a very difficult childhood in Toronto. In an interview with The Guardian, he referred to his early years as a “dark hole”. He is the only son of two Ethiopian immigrants, and his father left his mother and him when he was just a child. Since that day, the two have had very minimal contact. The Weeknd told Variety about his childhood in Scarborough, admitting that he was also homeless for a period of time:
It was tough growing up where I was from. I got into a lot of trouble, got kicked out of school, moved to different schools, and finally dropped out. Drugs were a crutch for me.
And memories of his childhood carry on into his music as well. The Weeknd’s debut album, House of Balloons, was aptly named after one of his Toronto residences — 65 Spencer Avenue in Parkdale. This was where he lived temporarily after moving out from his childhood home, according to Refinery 29. While talking to Rolling Stone magazine, the Weeknd admitted about living there, saying:
It was amazing. No parents, we can do what we want, stay up as late as we want — like, literally for days. We’d throw these shitty parties and have girls over, and we’d try to make it celebratory, so we’d have balloons.
At the time, he was working at an American Apparel store. Now, The Weeknd has a halftime Super Bowl performance under his belt. Sounds a lot like the American dream, doesn’t it?