Photo by David Brendan Hall
The Weeknd, aka Abel Tesfaye, has fully embraced the late rock icons David Bowie and Prince on his forthcoming third LP, Starboy (yes, even the name is an homage to Bowie’s 1972 album Starman). In a recent Wall Street Journal profile, the R&B star talked about what he’s been up to since his breakout 2015 album Beauty Behind the Madness and admitted that his newest effort owes “a thousand percent” of its inspiration to Bowie and Prince.
Tesfaye — whose silky voice often draws comparisons to Prince — revealed that he was scheduled to work with the Purple One at Paisley Park before his shocking death in April. That collaboration may have never come to fruition, but Tesfaye used his forthcoming album as an opportunity to one of his musical idols. The two will always be connected in another way, as Prince’s last television appearance came while presenting Tesfaye with an American Music Award in November of 2015.
As for the artists he’s actually collaborated with, Tesfaye had only flattering things to say about French duo Daft Punk, with whom he recorded Starboy’s title track. An avowed fan of filmmakers like David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick, Tesfaye appreciated Daft Punk’s cinematic approach to music.
“Their studio is like a spaceship; there’s a lot of gear,” he said. “But the way they make music, the way they explain it, is very cinematic. It’s like they’re reading a page out of a novel – ‘We want to make sure that at the end, it feels like the sun’s coming up, and maybe there’s a car chase.’ They can get technical, but it was interesting how they visualize making music.”
Starboy is out November 25th. In support, the R&B crooner has mapped out a lengthy 2017 tour that will take him across Europe and North America.