Abel Tesfaye, better known as the Weeknd, is ready for his close up. The 25-year-old Torontonian, who was raised by his single Ethiopian-Canadian mother, first came to wide attention when Drake featured him on key tracks for his Take Care
album. The alt-r&b singer then landed a hit song, “Earned It,” on the Fifty Shades of Grey
soundtrack. Recently, the Weeknd’s star went supernova, thanks to his smash “Can’t Feel My Face” becoming the undisputed song of the summer. Now Tesfaye has a new album that includes those songs plus another dozen deliciously moody and melodic numbers, including the suitably dark “Dark Times” with Ed Sheeran and the woozy “Prisoner” featuring Lana Del Rey. Along with Michael Jackson, the Weeknd cites Prince as a prime role model. There are hints of Prince on songs like the sensuous “Acquainted” and the King of Pop on “In the Night,” inspired by “The Way You Make Me Feel.” Already an r&b trailblazer, the Weeknd is now headed for full-blown pop star status.