4 Things We Can Learn from The Weeknd’s Rise to Fame

I have been non-stop listening to ‘Starboy’ – The Weeknd’s latest album release that charted the Hot 100’s Billboard (all 18 tracks). I’ve been a fan of The Weeknd since his ‘Wicked Game’ days. Back when House of Balloons was all but an underground RNB mixtape filled with disturbing and dark lyrics. With his two latest albums, ‘Beauty Behind the Madness’ and ‘Starboy’ we’ve seen The Weeknd rise to mainstream fame but still remain the humble and insecure artist that he is. In a recent interview with The Guardian, we were able to scope inside his mysterious life and learn more about his behind the scenes process. As an aspiring writer myself, I feel that we can learn a lot from The Weeknd or Abel Tesfaye (his real name) as more than just an RNB/pop artist, but a talented yet insecure writer.

Photograph: Steve Schofield for the Guardian. Grooming: Melissa Pursel at the Wall Group. Styling: Matthew Henson, assisted by Breaunna Trask

1).Famous people have writer’s block too. There’s those days where I am full prepared to immerse myself into producing 2-3 blog posts. I’m sitting at my desk with music on and notes by my side ready to tap away on my laptop. But then there’s something we all love – writer’s block. It seems that artists like The Weeknd, Drake, Rihanna, Sia etc. continuously release hit after hit with lyrics that are so relatable and true that we feel almost minuscule to their talent. But it’s good to know that ALL writers get writer’s block. That feeling where you have so many ideas in your head but the words just won’t come out. Tesfaye expressed this humbly in his interview with the Guardian.

“Even on this new album. You have writer’s block. And sometimes you’re like, I can’t do this sober.”

Obviously, drugs isn’t everyone’s way to release their writer’s block but this is still a primal example that we all have something that can bring the creativity out in us. For me, it’s stepping away from the laptop and occupying my mind with something else – a quick home work out, a grocery errand or playing with my dogs.

2).We all have to start somewhere. There are celebrities out there who were given the gift of fame and fortune – some inherited it from their family. Most of us don’t have that luxury of inheritance – including platinum selling artists. They all started from somewhere and although that somewhere is the bottom, they were able to make their way to the top. Similarly, Tesfaye grew up in a suburb of Toronto with his Ethiopian immigrant single mother who worked 4 jobs to keep bread on the table. Okay so most of us don’t have it that bad. Starting from the bottom for some of us simply means working at a take out store on the weekends to pay off student debts and during the week, we’re studying to reach that high point in our life. Simply put, unless you got it made, you’re going to have to work that extra mile to get to where you want to be.

At the Juno Awards in April. Photograph: George Pimentel/Getty Images

3).Stay humble but still confident. Tesfaye is probably one of the few humble artists in the world. Fame and fortune can do egos for a human being and this doesn’t need an explanation. If you caught the Victoria Secrets Show (do it now) then you’ll see the difference between Tesfaye’s performance and any other performance on the night. You’ll clearly notice that he is reserved (possibly because of Bella’s beauty? who knows) but even reading The Guardian’s interview with Tesfaye, I got the sense he is not one to flourish his money. However, through his writing and music, we can all accept that he has incredible confidence in producing amazing music. As a writer, I feel we should all be accepting and supporting of other writers and still remain confident in our own work. Being a part of blogging groups on Facebook has really taught me to celebrate other people’s wins and helping out when someone has problems.

4).Take that second chance if it’s given to you.

“A lot of people don’t get that second chance. But around that age, you usually get one second chance after a slap on the wrist. And you either take the experience and think, ‘This is it, final straw’, or you don’t. And the next move after that? It’s your entire life. You become who you become because of the next move you make.”

Although Abel Tesfaye is talking about his mishap with the law, we can take this and apply it generally to our lives. But let me apply it to writing and blogging to put it in context. I’ve been emailing brands and companies like a mad woman trying to get partnerships happening and collaborations underway. However for someone with a minuscule following and such a vast/widely popular topic (beauty), brands simply delete my email after having a look at my figures. This is definitely disheartening but the other day, I emailed a new up and coming brand that is kind of out of my niche however still relevant, and they replied with enthusiasm to work with me! This is my second chance and from this second chance, I’ll have the opportunity for a 3rd and 4th chance. If I was to continue to feel disheartened and decline this offer (wanting to stick to my niche only) I would have let go of a really fantastic partnership.

When I decided to write this post, I knew people would feel kind of weird about the association between an RNB/pop artist and a beauty blogger. But The Weeknd is a renown artist and we are all aspiring artists, so there’s a lot to connect between the way our minds work. If you’re ever feeling down and out about your writing, just remember that we all go through very similar things and we can all take the same steps to get out of it.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *