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Abel Tesfaye is born on February 16, 1990, known by his stage name The Weeknd, is a Canadian PBR&B recording artist and record producer. In late 2010, The Weeknd uploaded several songs to YouTube under the name "The Weeknd", though his identity was initially unknown. In 2011, The Weeknd released three nine-track mixtapes: House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence, which were critically acclaimed. In 2012, The Weeknd released a compilation album, Trilogy, consisting of remastered versions of the mixtape material and three additional songs. It was released under Republic Records and his own label XO. In 2013, The Weeknd released his debut studio album Kiss Land, which was supported by the singles "Kiss Land", and "Live For".
The Weeknd has received praise from several music publications, including Pitchfork, MTV, BET, Rolling Stone, XXL and The Source. MTV's John Norris has dubbed him the "songbird of his generation" and the "best musical talent since Michael Jackson".
In Toronto, Tesfaye met producer Jeremy Rose, who had an idea for a dark R&B musical project called "The Weekend". After trying to pitch the idea to musician Curtis Santiago, Rose played one of his instrumentals for Tesfaye, who freestyled over it, and they began working on an album. He produced three songs—"What You Need", "Loft Music", and "The Morning"—and others that Tesfaye rapped on, which Rose ultimately scrapped. Rose let Tesfaye keep the tracks he had produced under the condition that he would ultimately be credited for them. However, in December 2010, The Weeknd uploaded "What You Need", "Loft Music", and "The Morning" to YouTube under the name "The Weeknd", though his identity was initially unknown. The songs drew attention online through word of mouth, including a blog featuring the songs posted by Toronto-based rapper Drake, who also helped generate interest in the Weeknd. They subsequently received coverage from outlets such as Pitchfork Media and The New York Times.
On March 21, 2011, Tesfaye released the nine-track mixtape House of Balloons for free through his website. It featured production by Illangelo and Doc McKinney, although it did not credit Rose for his tracks. House of Balloons was met with critical acclaim, and was named as one of ten shortlisted nominees for the 2011 Polaris Music Prize.
In July, the Weeknd embarked on a tour and delivered his first performance at the Mod Club in Toronto. The hour-and-a-half long performance created buzz about him. His next performance took place at Toronto’s Molson Canadian Amphitheatre. He collaborated with rapper Drake and appeared as one of the special guests to Drake’s 2nd Annual OVO Fest on July 31, 2011. During the summer, the press noted that the Weeknd refused to participate in interviews and chose to only communicate via Twitter. His second mixtape Thursday was released on August 18, 2011, as a free digital download from the Weeknd's website, and was well received by critics. The Weeknd's third mixtape, titled Echoes of Silence, was released on December 21, 2011. Upon this release, the three 2011 mixtapes were collectively known as the Balloons Trilogy, each receiving critical acclaim and growing Tesfaye's fanbase.
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