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For the first time ever, longtime friends Zane Lowe and The Weeknd, real name Abel Tesfaye, let cameras roll as they sat down for their first official interview.
The Weeknd has been busy promoting his third studio album Starboy, including a show-stopping performance at Friday’s iHeartRadio Canada Jingle Ball, but before the album was released to the public, BBC host Lowe and Tesfaye had one of the most in-depth interviews of the Toronto native’s career.
Over 45 minutes, the two talked about everything from The Weeknd losing money after backing out of Rihanna’s tour, making pop music cool, drinking Hennessy to get through his first performance and finding the beat for “Starboy” on Daft Punk’s Guy-Manuel’s phone.
Check out some of the highlights from the interview and click here for more on The Weeknd’s performance at the iHeartRadio Canada Jingle Ball.
On Making Money
“The Trilogy was more like, wealth was a motive, then after Kissland, we finally have the wealth and you know, we’re enjoying it and of course everybody wants to be rich, but it comes with its negatives as well…I don’t really splurge, I just really started buying expensive stuff now.”
“He (Starboy) is a character we created, you know, it’s funny, we wanted to make a comic book strip out of him as well.”
On Working With Daft Punk
“We literally did ‘Starboy’ and ‘I Feel It Coming’ in two to three days…they (Daft Punk) want it to sound as authentic as possible and as retro as possible.”
On Lana Del Rey
“It felt like her lyrics and my lyrics were kind of talking to each other sometimes. She’s probably one of my closest friends in the industry.”
On Kendrick Lamar
“He’s a genius. He’d walk around. He’d play the record over and over again. I played him songs, the Starboy theme of course, which he incorporated into his verse. He would just walk around. We had food. He’s writing his verse in his head. He would go into his phone, look at it a few and then put it back and start walking around. He then at one point he went into the studio booth and I closed the door and I could hear him yelling his verse.”
On Nerves While Performing
“You have to fight the nerves, man. You have to…You’re singing to people, it’s an emotional thing. You’re not normal if you sing to people, you know what I mean? You’re not a normal person. It’s nerve-wracking…If you ever see young artists and they’re not sounding good, they sound good. They’re good singers. They wouldn’t be where they are if they didn’t sound good. It’s the nerves.”
On Working With His Team
“I feel like everybody kinda loses who they are when they start cutting the people who made them who they are.”
On Staying Sober On Stage
“Maybe at the beginning of the career. But when it comes down to performing and being that person, you need to have that…you need to be strict. I’m not up there lip syncing, you know? I don’t got back up dancers. I don’t have crazy shit going on. It’s all about me and the microphone. I used to go on stage drunk.”
On Cutting His Famous Hair
“I was thinking about it for a bit. The vision wasn’t there anymore. It was there, and then, just like, the music was getting really sad…It was the greatest feeling of all time (cutting his hair). It was so good. I could sleep better, I felt lighter, when I perform I perform better. I feel better, it’s cool…the best part about it is I get to wear f**king hats again.”
Watch the full interview between The Weeknd and Zane Lowe below.