Is The Weeknd Retiring? He Wants to ‘Kill’ His Persona After Changing His Name Back

A certain pop-star might be making rebranding himself. The Weeknd made a noticeable change on his social media which is causing fans to ask: Is The Weeknd retiring? 

On May 15, 2023, The Weeknd’s Twitter and Instagram accounts reverted his name back to his real name Abel Tesfaye. The “Starboy” singer has hinted about the fate of his moniker in recent interviews, but it’s the first time that he’s used his real name in public since his rise to fame.

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So what’s the deal with The Weeknd (ahem, Abel) and what’s the future like for the singer? Is The Weeknd really retiring? Read more below to find out.

Is The Weeknd retiring?

Image: Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Coachella
Image: Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Coachella

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Is The Weekend retiring? Yes, but no. The singer himself isn’t retiring from music, but he’s not going to use the name “The Weeknd” anymore.

In an interview with W Magazine, Abel revealed why he didn’t want to use his stage name in the future. “I’m going through a cathartic path right now,” he said. “It’s getting to a place and a time where I’m getting ready to close the Weeknd chapter. I’ll still make music, maybe as Abel, maybe as The Weeknd. But I still want to kill The Weeknd. And I will. Eventually. I’m definitely trying to shed that skin and be reborn.”

Abel later explained, “The album I’m working on now is probably my last hurrah as The Weeknd. This is something that I have to do. As The Weeknd, I’ve said everything I can say.”

He also talked about of going back and forth between acting and performing with filming a portion of The Idol during his shows in Los Angeles.  “I had to take off the Weeknd outfit, put on Tedros’s wig, shoot with Jocelyn, then go back to being The Weeknd,” he told me later. “It was tough to go from one head to another. Then, after the concert, I lost my voice. No voice came out at all. That’s never happened before. My theory is that I forgot how to sing because I was playing Tedros, a character who doesn’t know how to sing. I may be looking too deeply into this, but it was terrifying. As The Weeknd, I’ve never skipped a concert. I’ve performed with the flu. I’ll die on that stage. But there was something very complicated going on with my mind at that moment.”

The show was filmed as his last stop on the After Hours til Dawn after three consecutive shows sold out at SoFi Stadium. He also performed sold-out shows in his hometown of Toronto, Canada, and East Rutherford, New Jersey.  On the second night of the “Die For You” singer’s Los Angeles run, he lost his voice in the middle of “Can’t Feel My Face” and left the stage abruptly.

He later came out to apologize to the crowd. “I wanted to personally come out and apologize to you guys. I don’t know what just happened when I screamed, but I just lost my voice. This is killing me, I don’t want to stop the show, but I can’t give you the concert I want to give you,” the Weeknd said. “I’m going to make sure everyone’s good, gets your money back, and I’ll do a show real soon for you guys, but I wanted to come out and personally apologize and not tweet it or Instagram it. I wanted you guys to know that I can’t give you what I want to give you and I apologize. I’m so sorry.” He added, “You know how much this kills me.”

Tesfaye came up with the name The Weeknd after going through several different stage names like the Noise and Kin Kane. In a Reddit AMA in 2013, he revealed how he settled with “The Weeknd.” “I left home when I was about 17 dropped out of high school and convinced Lamar to do the same lol,” he said referring to a member of his XO crew at the time. “We grabbed our mattresses from our parents threw it in our friends shitty van and left one weekend and never came back home. It was gonna be the title of HOB [House of Balloons]. I hated my name at the time though so I tried it as a stage name. It sounded cool. I took out the “e” because there was already a Canadian band named the weekend (copyright issues).”

Later in the W Magazine interview, he talked about his current artistic process.  “Film and TV is a new creative muscle for me,” Tesfaye said. “I don’t release my music until I think it is great. Why would this be any different?” He continued, “I like when all the odds are against me,” he said. “I’ve always been an underdog—in the beginning, the music business was not easy. I had to fight to get to the top of the mountain.”

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