- Abel Tesfaye (born February 16th, 1990)
- Canadian recording artist, rapper, writer, musician and producer who goes by the stage name The Weeknd
- From Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario.
- Of Ethiopian descent, born Christian.
Read more about Abel’s early days in Scarborough, Toronto.
The Timeline of events that created House Of Balloons.
Abel Tesfaye and fellow Scarborough upcoming rapper Jesse Ray formed the Rap/RNB duo Bulleez n Nerdz, Abel went under the stage name Kin Kane, (Kin – connected, related by blood). The two had great chemistry performing together at parties & decided to make songs together. They performed their first song for, Godzilla , the first track they had ever done together, After loving their personality & music he introduced them to his upcoming Toronto producer Kashif Majeed better known as Kid Klassic who was working at the time with a female R&B/POP group called Mynt. At that time Abel was writing RNB songs for other artists trying to make a library of material and the duo were working on some mixtape tracks, a first single was slated for release early 2009.
After working with Entyse Entertainment’s producer Kashif Majeed aka Kid Klassic during his time as part of the duo Bulleez n Nerdz, Abel, Majeed & two other upcoming vocalists Tyler Done & Natalie Di Luccio formed a production/writing team called The Noise. They were signed by Lavish Life Management , a management company run by Brendan Malette, for producers and songwriters which shops their material to major label artists in order to get their beats, or songs, out onto airwaves and albums. Also signed to lavish life at that time was producer T-Minus whom Abel had worked with
Abel Tesfaye along with friends La Mar Taylor & Hyghly Alleyne teamed up to form ” She’s So Lovely ” (SSL), a crew creating and redefining the relationship between video, photography and music. While setting up an online magazine their WORK was found on their Tumblr & Website. & on the sites Swagg ink and Swagg T.V where they interviewed & photoshot the likes of Big Sean, Freddie Gibbs & Amber Rose
Abel met an upcoming producer from Toronto, by the name of Jeremy Rose (aka Zodiac) at a mutal friends house party, after hearing Abel freestyle over one of his beats (What You Need) Jeremy asked Abel if he wanted to work on some dark rnb songs. Jeremy had already done the instrumentals & production for the songs years before and all that was missing was the vocals, for example, the instrumental for What You Need was one of the first songs Rose had produced back in 2007 & the first song Abel had put vocals on. The duo recorded 4 songs together, What You Need which sampled Aaliyah’s Rock The Boat , Loft Music which sampled Beach House’s Gila, The Party which also sampled Beach House’s Master of None and a screwed version of The Morning. All of which were demos and early versions. They had also been working on a rap album but it would be scrapped later on.
– October 12th
The duo released their first single What You Need as The WeekEnd , with Abel Tesfaye on the vocals and Jeremy Rose handling the production.
– December 4th
A Radio Interview with Blu Orchid Media/Entertainment hit youtube, with the duo talking about their influences, upcoming projects and freestyling.
– December 13/14th
Drake introduced them on his Blog, when their second single, The Morning started hitting the blogs
– December 15th
The Weeknd’s duo starting gaining recognition online and were featured the same month in The Fader, Mixpakrecords, Robin-Waters and The NYTimes, being described as a breath of fresh air.
They went on to craft more of their own beautifully dressed R&B hits, capturing smooth vocal riffs alongside glitched and dragged beats and even getting a shout out from beatmaker extraordinaire Flying Lotus. A Mixtape was supposed to be released during Christmas but was never finished due to a falling out between the two which led to their separation. Jeremy Rose agreeing that Abel could keep the songs they had already recorded. It’s not clear why the two parted ways but it’s rumored that shortly after the fall of 2010 due to “creative differences” Rose ended the relationship.
Tesfaye and the rest of the SSL crew began to seek out new producers to work with. Upcoming Canadian producer, Carlo “Illangelo” Montagnese was brought in for multiple studio sessions. An agreement was reached between Rose and Tesfaye, which allowed Tesfaye to keep the stems from all their previous work.
– December 18th
Abel decided to keep the name but dropped the E, operating under the stage name The Weeknd .
The Weeknd, The Build Up & House Of Balloons
After officially operating under the stage name The Weeknd, Abel started working with producer Ill Angelo, a video for the pair in the Studio had been released by the SSL crew but was then removed. One of the first songs they worked on was High for This, a song which was co-written and produced by Canadian L.A based producer Cirkut in 2010.
While working with Angelo, Abel was introduced to veteran producer, musician & guitarist Martin Doc Mckinney who had previously worked with the likes of Esthero & Res. Angelo was Mckinney’s protege & right hand. The three got in the studio together & starting working on the ‘masterpiece’ through the first 3 months of 2011. At that time, the 3 songs which were previously released at the end of 2010 started resurfacing under “The Weeknd”, after crew members and Mckinney started re-tweeting & posting them, building a hype for what this mysterious Toronto R&B ‘act’ had to offer.
– Feb 21st
The Weeknd opened a twitter account, tweeting the line “I’m on that **** that you can’t smell baby.. so put down your perfume”, a week later on March 6th, the first song under his new alias, “Wicked Games” was released, produced by Doc Mckinney. The next day Drake tweeted another line from the same song, posting it on his OVO blog with the tag “OVOXO Gang, Faded Too Long” leading to more hype and anticipation knowing that this “act/group” was somehow affiliated with October’s Very Own. The Weeknd took to twitter thanking everyone for the response to the song and that this was only the beginning, also shutting down rumors that he was a group or a Duo Act.
– March 12th
The Weeknd and his XO crew started a Tumblr blog, headlining it “XO Til We Overdose”, a line which he in some way explained, also redefining and re-introducing his crew (which were previously known as She’s So Lovely).
– March 20th
After promising more songs and tweeting lyrics, The Weeknd released another song titled Coming Down also produced by Doc Mckinney, he later took to twitter asking his fans to be online at 8 PM then posting a picture/sign reading that a mixtape of all the songs would be released, and more would be up on the website in 2hrs causing the site to crash immediately after it’s upload
In almost 3 weeks the mixtape entitled House Of Balloons was downloaded 200,000 times from The Weeknd’s official website alone creating a frenzy on the internet and music blogs. The Mixtape contained 9 tracks
A song entitled Krispy by fellow Toronto rapper Mental McFly aka Rex B Mental (who Abel had been working with at the time) leaked. Months later (December 7th) a member on Youtube leaked another track called When The Grip Hits, the original version for Krispy and In The Mood
– May 23rd
Complex released the track Birthday Suit, a demo for Drake which Abel had also recorded with The Noise. The track got members on Kanyetothe interested in other early Abel Tesfaye material floating around the internet. They started searching, and a member by the name of Djamiel found The Noise & Abel’s Myspace, which lead another member to find a snippet of “Release Me” from The Noise Myspace. Djamiel later posted 4 snippets for Do It, Rescue You, Appointment, and X-Ray, which also included download links. They started hitting other blogs like crazy. EarMilk then put them all together and named it The Noise EP.