The Weeknd is one of the biggest musical acts in the world, known for his genre-crossing sound and his masterful songwriting. Many people are not aware of the singer’s cultural background and wonder if The Weeknd speaks Spanish.
It\s thought that The Weeknd does not speak Spanish, but he does speak two languages fluently and has at least limited skills in a third. The Weeknd grew up in a household where two different languages were spoken, but surprisingly English is not the singer’s first language.
Read more below to learn about The Weeknd’s native language and the other two languages he has experience with.
The Weeknd was born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye in Toronto, Canada. Though the singer was born in Canada, his parents were Ethiopian immigrants who retreated to Canada because of the problematic political situation and famine that rocked the African country during the 1980s.
The Weeknd’s father abandoned the family when Abel was young, leaving The Weeknd to be raised by his mom and grandmother. Despite this, the family maintained their cultural roots, with The Weeknd learning to speak Ethiopian’s native language, Amharic, before he learned to speak English.
Amharic and English
Amharic is a Semitic language and one of the two main languages of Ethiopia. There are roughly 22 million native speakers and it is the official language used in courts, the military, and commercial endeavors within the African country.
Toronto has a large Ethiopian population, which makes it likely that The Weeknd would have been able to use his native language regularly outside of the house and not just with his family.
Not only did The Weeknd’s family actively speak Amharic around the house, his family also immersed themselves in the music of their home country, and The Weeknd credits that as a big inspiration to his unique sound, saying, “My mother, my grandmother, my uncles would play Ethiopian artists like Aster Aweke and Mulatu Astatke all the time in the house. They would drink coffee, eat popcorn, and listen to the music. It’s such beautiful music, but I didn’t realize how beautiful it was until I left that head space.That’s why I feel like my singing is not conventional.”
The Weeknd still fluently speaks Amharic though he has not lived at home since he was 17.
You can watch The Weeknd perform in Amharic in the YouTube video below.
Aside from Amharic, The Weeknd speaks English fluently. Given the fact that he is a major superstar in the United States and his home country of Canada, practically all of his interviews and performances are done in English.
However, given that The Weeknd grew up in the Canadian province of Ontario, there is a large chance that the singer has some experience with the French language. Though the province’s official language is English, there are multiple French speaking cities and communities.
Not only that, but Ontario’s neighboring province, Quebec, has a predominantly French-speaking population. French is also the official language for this province.
Spanish in Canada
On the other hand, though Spanish is the most frequently spoken foreign language in Canada, less than 2 million Canadians can actually speak it fluently. Spanish is the second most spoken language in the whole world, which makes the small number of speakers in Canada a minority.
At one point in 2017, there was a rumor going around that The Weeknd was learning to speak Spanish along with then-girlfriend Selena Gomez. The couple eventually broke up and this rumor was never substantiated.
Nearly 43% of the world’s population is bilingual, but only a mere 13% are trilingual. Though The Weeknd does not speak Spanish, the fact that he’s fluent in two languages and has been since childhood, makes it more likely that he could easily pick up the language if he ever did want to learn it.