The Weeknd Talks Jackson, Mother and Life -
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The Weeknd Talks Jackson, Mother and Life

by Paul Cashmere on August 28, 2015

in News

In this week’s Billboard cover story, part of Billboard’s 2015 Fall Music Preview, The Weeknd speaks on why “Nobody can stop me but myself.”

On how Michael Jackson was his main inspiration:
Abel Tesfaye admires, even emulates, trailblazing black pop giants. One of his prime role models, along with Prince, is Michael Jackson: When he first read the lyrics to ‘Dirty Diana,’ which he covered on Trilogy, Tesfaye says, ‘I got emotional — it’s when I first knew I wanted to write songs.’ Indeed, critics have compared the bubble and flow of ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ to Jackson, and Kotecha says the groove of ‘In the Night’ was inspired by the ‘swing’ of Jackson’s ‘The Way You Make Me Feel.’

Ellie Goulding is a fan:
‘He’s the kind of voice that just can’t go unnoticed for long,’

On his relationship with himself:
‘I still loosen up, but I have much more control. I can go overboard, but nobody can stop me but myself. Me and myself have a better relationship now than we did back then.’

On his relationship with his mother:
Another bond that has been strengthened is with his Ethiopian-Canadian single mother, from whom Tesfaye became estranged when he dropped out of high school to move downtown and make music. ‘I couldn’t face her until I made something out of myself,’ he says. ‘I couldn’t go back home as a nobody.’


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