After announcing his decision to axe his artist moniker during his interview with W Magazine recently, The Weeknd took a step in that direction when he changed all of his display names on social media to his birth name — Abel Makkonen Tesfaye.
The cover story featuring his The Idol co-star Lily-Rose Depp highlighted their upcoming controversial HBO Max series, The Idol, and revealed Tesfaye’s desire to “kill The Weeknd.”
“I’m going through a cathartic path right now. It’s getting to a place and a time where I’m getting ready to close the Weeknd chapter,” the singer told W Magazine. “I’ll still make music, maybe as Abel, maybe as The Weeknd. But I still want to kill The Weeknd. And I will. Eventually. I’m definitely trying to shed that skin and be reborn.”
Though Tesfaye has taken the initial steps in removing his iconic artist name from social media, he revealed his plans to complete one more album under The Weeknd. “The album I’m working on now is probably my last hurrah as The Weeknd,” he said during his interview. “This is something that I have to do. As The Weeknd, I’ve said everything I can say.”
Later in the story, Tesfaye explained how playing the role of Tedros in the upcoming HBO musical drama had a physical and emotional toll on him. “I had to take off The Weeknd outfit, put on Tedros’ wig, shoot with [Depp’s character] Jocelyn, then go back to being The Weeknd,” he reflected on the shift between characters. “Then, after the concert, I lost my voice. No voice came out at all. That’s never happened before. My theory is that I forgot how to sing because I was playing Tedros, a character who doesn’t know how to sing. I may be looking too deeply into this, but it was terrifying. As The Weeknd, I’ve never skipped a concert. I’ve performed with the flu. I’ll die on that stage. But there was something very complicated going on with my mind at that moment.”
The Idol debuts June 4 on Max.