The Weeknd discusses his dark persona, quitting drugs and more in a new interview with GQ.
The Canadian singer, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, tells the magazine of how he feels about people thinking he’s a dark person: “I am not dark. My art is dark, and I’ve gone through dark times. I’ve used those dark times as inspiration for my art. But I feel like because I’m not dark, I was able to channel it and put it into my music and into my art.”
He adds that he’s been able to make some of his best work when he’s been sad, sharing: “I believe that when anybody is sad, they make better music.
“And I’ve definitely been a victim of wanting to be sad for that, because I’m very aware. I definitely put myself in situations where it’s psychologically self-harming. Because making great music is a drug. It’s an addiction and you want to always have that.
“Fortunately, I’ve been through that and I’ve learned how to channel it. And I’ve experienced enough darkness in my life for a lifetime. I feel lucky that I have music, and that’s probably why I haven’t dabbled into too much therapy, because I feel like music has been my therapy.”
Tesfaye goes on to talk about not drinking so much anymore and still smoking weed, but quitting other drugs.
He insists, “Drugs were a crutch. It was me thinking that I needed it. And not doing the work to figure out how not to need it. And I’ve spent the last few years realizing that and thanking God that I don’t need it. Because for a lot of people, it’s hard to shake it. But I knew I didn’t want it.”
Tesfaye says of the difference between The Weeknd and Abel, “The lines were blurry at the beginning.
“And as my career developed—as I developed as a man—it’s become very clear that Abel is someone I go home to every night. And The Weeknd is someone I go to work as.”
He then discusses calling the Grammys “corrupt” back in November after his album After Hours, which hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts and went platinum multiple times over, wasn’t nominated in a single category.
The musician tells the mag, “When it happened, I had all these ideas and thoughts.
“I was angry and I was confused and I was sad. But now, looking back at it, I never want to know what really happened.”
When asked whether he plans to submit his music to the Grammys ever again, he insists, “I have no interest. Everyone’s like, ‘No, just do better next time.’ I will do better, but not for you. I’m going to do better for me.”