“I’ve definitely been inspired,” he said when asked if he was working on new material, right at the very end of an interview with Hollywood Reporter posted Monday (Jan. 9). “I’ve been in the studio.”
The star, born Abel Tesfaye, just celebrated the one-year anniversary of his most recent album, 2022’s Dawn FM. To mark the occasion, he dropped a new music video for one of the album’s tracks, “Is There Someone Else?” Saturday (Jan. 7).
Tesfaye didn’t share any further details about his next project, and instead spent most of the interview talking about “Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength),” the Oscar-shortlisted theme song that he wrote for James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water. The Idol creator opened up about how the Avatar franchise has served as an inspiration for him ever since he saw the first film in 2009 when he was “homeless,” a period he calls “the darkest time of my life.”
“The best part about writing the song was getting notes from James and making sure that all the lyrics and the tones fit the themes of the film,” he told the publication. “I think I rewrote the song maybe six times to make sure it was perfect.”
The “Blinding Lights” singer also briefly spoke about the song’s potential Academy Award nomination, saying he feels “honored” by the recognition. Tesfaye has previously spoken out about another prominent awards show, the Grammys, which he’s boycotted since his blockbuster 2020 album After Hours was snubbed.
But, according to the musician, the Oscars “definitely feel different” from the Recording Academy. “I’m just grateful,” he continued after it was pointed out that he did win a Grammy for his assistance on Kanye West’s “Hurricane” in 2022, post boycott. “Any kind of recognition, I’m grateful for it. I’m just happy to be in the conversation.”