The Weeknd is a Grammy Award-winning music artist, most famous for 2016’s hit album (and title track), Starboy, and his high-profile collaborations with other artists. From his unique sounds to his signature look, The Weeknd took the world by storm, but many people have been wondering why The Weeknd is called ‘The Weeknd.’
The Weeknd chose his stage name because at the start of his career he was unhappy with his real name and wanted something unique, that would be memorable to an audience.
Read more below about The Weeknd and why he chose the unique spelling of his new moniker.
What’s in a Name?
The Weeknd was born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye on February 16, 1990. His parents were Ethipoian immigrants who had fled to Canada, where they had Abel and built a life in the Scarborough area of Toronto.
His parents ultimately split up when The Weeknd was still a child and he was raised by his mom and grandmother. Though he had an otherwise normal childhood, when he became serious about pursuing music as a career, he dropped out of high school and moved to a different part of the city.
During a Reddit AMA, The Weeknd was asked why he chose a new moniker, with fans wondering about the unique spelling of the word weekend. The singer explained his decision, writing, “I left home when I was about 17 dropped out of high school and convinced Lamar [XO crew member] to do the same lol. We grabbed our mattresses from our parents threw it in our friends s****y van and left one weekend and never came back home… I hated my name at the time though so I tried it as a stage name. It sounded cool. I took out the “e” because there was already a canadian band named the weekend.”
You can watch this look at Abel’s life before he became The Weeknd in the YouTube video below.
Stage Names and Superstars
Despite the randomness of The Weeknd’s stage name, taking on a different name in the entertainment world is quite common. Some of the top reasons an actor or singer might change their name include having a common or popular name, avoiding confusion to another act (like The Weeknd did), and protecting one’s personal life.
Here are some of the most famous performers who use a stage name:
Lady Gaga. Much like The Weeknd, Lady Gaga opted to go all out with her stage name, choosing the moniker in reference to a Queen song. In reality, the eccentric singer was born Stefani Germanotta.
Rihanna is actually the famous singer’s middle name, not her first, and she opted to drop her last name completely from her stage name. The Barbadian beauty was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty. Also, apparently a lot of people pronounce her stage name incorrectly.
One would not immediately think that Brad Pitt is a stage name, but much like Rihanna, Hollywood’s favorite leading man went with his middle name. The Oscar winning actor was born William Bradley Pitt, though he apparently still uses William from time to time in his personal life.
Probably the most famous entry on this list is Tinsel Town icon Marilyn Monroe. The blonde bombshell captured the heart of everyone in Hollywood until her untimely death in 1962. Though she’ll forever be known as Marilyn, she was born Norma Jeane Mortenson. Monroe’s name was chosen in collaboration with studio heads when she went under contract with 20th Century Fox.
Retiring The Weeknd
Clearly stage names are par for the course in the entertainment industry and The Weeknd is no different in that regard. The Weeknd enjoys stage names so much, he’s considering possibly changing his name again, telling Harper’s Bazaar, “Kind of like pulling a Ziggy Stardust. Maybe I’ll retire from being The Weeknd.” Fans will just have to wait and see what The Weeknd has in store for them next.