The Weeknd has become a very known artist this year; especially, since he has contributed greatly to popular mainstream music, breaking down barriers and adding more to his repertoire.
On November 24, the Recording Academy announced the nominees for the Grammy awards 2021. Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, received no nominations despite charting big, breaking records, and winning at other award shows. Drake, Nicki Minaj, Halsey, Elton John, and other artists came to The Weeknd’s defense, questioning the credibility of the award show and speaking out against its corruption.
The Recording Academy didn’t comment on why they didn’t nominate him. However, according to TMZ, sources close to The Weeknd’s team addressed that Tesfaye was given an ultimatum, where he had to choose the SuperBowl or Grammy performance with him set to perform at the 2021 SuperBowl next February. His decision to perform halftime at the annual football game might have cost him his nomination, some speculate.
Looking back at the start of this year, The Weeknd broke a record before his 4th studio album, After Hours, got released. A day before the album got released, pre-adds on Apple Music racked up to 975,000, and in the end, the album surpassed 1 million pre-adds by the time it was released.
According to Billboard, The Weeknd is the first artist to ever rank at #1 on the Billboard 200, Hot 100, Artist 100, Hot 100 songwriters, and Hot 100 Producers Charts simultaneously. In its opening week, After Hours had 221 million streams and sold 275,000 copies. The second single of the album, ¨Blinding Lights,¨ continues breaking records after being released over a year ago on November 29, 2019. The single has dominated charts this year, with becoming the longest-running Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 Hit, at 40 weeks.
After Hours has garnered over 3.3 billion global streams on Spotify, with it being the second most-streamed album of the year on the music platform. “Blinding Lights” is Spotify’s Top Song of the year, raking in about 1.6 billion streams. The Weeknd ranked #5 on Spotify’s 2020 artist charts.
The Weeknd has collaborated with other artists this year. Some songs off After Hours are remixed and include features of Lil Uzi Vert in “Heartless,” Chromatics in “Blinding Lights,” and Doja Cat and Kenny G in “In Your Eyes.” He appeared on Juice Wrld’s posthumous song, ¨Smile,¨ charting at #14. Reggaeton artist, Maluma, features The Weeknd on a remixed version of his song, ¨Hawai,¨ charting at #12. He collaborated with DJ Calvin Harris on the song, ¨Over Now.¨ The Weeknd has no features on After Hours but the remixes EP.
At the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards on August 30, The Weeknd won big after an incredible performance on a rooftop. He took home the top prize, Video of the year, for the song, “Blinding Lights.” He also took the best R&B Video of the year for the same song. Within a month later, he performed at the American Music Awards, with bandages and special effects makeup of a bruised face. He won all major soul/R&B categories, with Soul/R&B song of the year for the first single, ¨Heartless,¨ Male Artist of Soul/R&B of the year, and Soul/R&B album of the year for After Hours.
As a singer-songwriter, The Weeknd has accomplished so much this year with his musical talents. He has expanded the spectrum of mainstream music with his R&B genre, filled with pop influences. Looking back at 2020, The Weeknd will be seen as one of the most influential artists of this year.
By Brianna Andrade, Staff Writer