No matter who wins this Sunday’s Super Bowl, Canadians will have someone to cheer for. Toronto-born singer and songwriter The Weeknd, named as one of Time magazine’s most influential persons of 2020, will perform during the halftime show in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida. He is the first Canadian to do so in almost two decades, since Shania Twain opened with Man, I Feel Like a Woman, in 2003.
The NFL announced this week that 25,000 fans will be allowed to enter the stadium, while the game will be streamed live and free on CBSSports.com. The Weeknd is expected to take the stage around 8:30 pm. To get ready for the action, here is everything you need to know about The Weeknd
From the Six
The 30-year-old singer’s real name is Abel Tesfaye. He grew up in Scarborough, raised by his Ethiopian mother and grandmother in a strict, orthodox home. His father left the family when he was six years old. He learned Amharic, the official Ethiopian language, from his grandmother and speaks it fluently. He didn’t finish high school, dropping out at the age of 17.
In an 2016 interview he explained the name he adopted after dropping out of high school: “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 (copyright issues).”
His first mixtape, in 2011, was called “House of Balloons.” It was free for download. His high school friend, La Mar Taylor, who he convinced to drop out with him, designed its cover. Taylor is now his creative director. With a few other Canadians, he created the record label XO.
The Coachella connection
His first US. debut was at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2012. He returned to Coachella in 2015, and again in 2018, where it was rumoured he earned more than Beyonce, who headlined the event. The rumour was eventually corrected.
Coming in at 100
In 2015, he made the Billboard top 100 for the first time, featured on Drake’s song “Crew Love.” Later that year his single, “Can’t Feel My Face,” premiered at No.1. The winner of three Grammy awards and 10 Juno Awards, has also been nominated for an Academy award for the single “Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey. After Hours is his latest and fourth album.
In 2015 he dated model Bella Hadid; they broke up in 2016. After their breakup he performed on the same stage as Hadid at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show. He dated singer Selena Gomez for 10 months in 2017. A rumour circulated that he tried to donate his kidney to Gomez when her kidneys failed, but she received one from her best friend in 2017.
His Hidden Hills mansion in Los Angeles has a five-car auto showroom. He bought the home in the gated community in 2017, and it is currently on the market for $22 million.
The bloody bandaged face
In 2020, The Weeknd made several appearances in which his face was bandaged and bloody. At the American Music Awards, his head and nose were bandaged, with bruising and blood around his eyes. He spoke toVariety about the look and said “This character is having a really bad night — all these videos are taking place in one night — and you can come with own interpretation of what it is.”
Super Bowl LV
He put $7 million of his own money into the halftime performance. In an interview with Billboard, the singer said he wanted to create a “cinematic experience,” but did not reveal what to expect. A Super Bowl ad released this past week shows him without the bandages and bloody face, leading fans to believe he will abandon the look on Sunday.
The singer has not performed on the road since 2018 due to COVID-19, but this week announced world tour dates for After Hours.The tour will begin on Jan 14, 2022, in Vancouver, with stops in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Paris and Berlin, concluding May 1st in Tacoma, Washington.