It seems 2020 is bringing out the best in The Weeknd. In a new interview with TMRW, shared on Dec. 16, the singer opened up about his rise to stardom over the past decade and what fans can expect from his next album.
“My natural singing voice was inspired and shaped by Ethiopian music,” the singer reflected during the interview, which is being featured in a 100-page ‘zine dedicated to the star. “The older I got, I was exposed to more music, and my voice became a chameleon going into different characters with each album. By following my own path and breaking industry norms, it seems to be influencing others.”
While the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has delayed The Weeknd’s planned After Hours Tour until summer 2021, the Canadian singer has spent the time he would’ve been on tour hard at work on his next body of work, finding inspiration in the tumultuous events of the past year.
“I have been more inspired and creative during the pandemic than I might normally be while on the road…The pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement and the tensions of the election have mostly created a sense of gratitude for what I have and closeness with the people near me,” he said.
In the ‘zine, the R&B crooner also looked back on the impact of his career — from his early trio of 2011 mixtapes to his latest smash LP After Hours. “I was laser focused back then and I’m laser focused right now. This has been the story of my 20s.” he said. “I feel like I spent the last 10 years creating a sound and most of my career, I’ve either been running away from it or duplicating it. After Hours was the perfect piece of art for me to show my tenure in the industry.”
Released back in March, just one week after the pandemic ground life to a sudden halt, After Hours debuted atop the Billboard 200, earning The Weeknd his fourth career No. 1 album. During 2020, he also collaborated with the likes of Maluma (“Hawái” remix), Rosalía (“Blinding Lights” remix), Calvin Harris (“Over Now”) and Juice WRLD (“Smile”).