The Weeknd Talks Cutting Off His Trademark Dreadlocks: 'It Didn't Feel Right Anymore'

Nabil Elderkin
The Weeknd

If you were wondering why (or even how) The Weeknd could cut off his wild trademark Jean-Michel Basquiat-inspired dreadlocks, that's exactly the point. 

Speaking with the Wall Street Journal about his new album Starboy and new look to go with it, the artist née Abel Tesfaye said the style change was a "long time coming."

"It didn't feel right anymore, because it ended up becoming a trademark," he said in a rare interview. "I told everybody I was getting rid of it, and everybody -- literally, unanimously -- they were like, 'No, don't do it! That's your whole thing, that's you.' And the way they said that, I was like, 'Oh, I'm definitely cutting it now.'"

That kind of unwavering confidence has been key to Starboy, which Tesfaye called "a giant collage" of influences from David Bowie to Prince to Bad Brains and the Smiths with "schizophrenic" story lines inspired by Carlito's Way, Scarface and more. Outside the music, even the timing took some guts to pull off, canceling plans for a massive summer tour behind his chart-topping, Grammy and Billboard award-winning album Beauty Behind the Madness, to hit the studio and focus on new music. It was a risk and money lost, but the 25-year-old said "this is what feels right."

After four months of recording, he finished the new album, which is due out Nov. 25. He says it's him at the top of his game. 

"I think I'm just having my A game -- that I'm the best I've ever been in the studio," he said. "I don't know where to go after this record, to be honest."

Read the full interview here