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The Weeknd is back in the studio working on new music

A year on from 'Dawn FM'

By Joe Goggins

The Weeknd
The Weeknd recently marked the one-year anniversary of 'Dawn FM'. (Photo: Brian Ziff)

The Weeknd has already returned to the studio, a year after topping charts worldwide with fifth album Dawn FM.

In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Canadian R&B superstar – real name Abel Tesfaye – claims that he is in a rich vein of creative form, raising the possibility of a quick fire follow-up to what was one of last year’s best-selling records. “I’ve definitely been inspired,” he revealed. “I’ve been in the studio.”

No further details on what the recent sessions might lead to were forthcoming; Tesfaye was sitting down with the publication primarily to discuss ‘Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)’, the track he contributed to the soundtrack for James Cameron’s sci-fi epic Avatar: The Way of Water that has since been shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Were Tesfaye to pick up the prize at the ceremony at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theater on March 12, it would mark another remarkable chapter in his rags-to-riches story, as he explained to THR that he was “homeless” when he first saw the initial chapter in Cameron’s saga back in 2009. “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 THR, having reflected on the importance of the first film to him during what he called “the darkest time of my life.” 

“I think I rewrote the song maybe six times to make sure it was perfect,” he went on. He also claimed to feel “honoured” by the recognition from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, despite having boycotted the recording industry equivalent, the Grammy Awards, since they roundly snubbed his 2020 LP After Hours by failing to nominate it in a single category. 

“I’m just grateful,” Tesfaye said of awards recognition, in response to THR’s Mesfin Fekadu raising the fact that he had in fact won a Grammy last year, after having announced a boycott of the awards, for his contribution to Kanye West’s ‘Hurricane’, which scooped Best Melodic Rap Performance. “Any kind of recognition, I’m grateful for it. I’m just happy to be in the conversation,”

Last Saturday (January 7), Tesfaye marked the one-year anniversary of Dawn FM’s release with a new video for ‘Is There Someone Else?’ He will play his biggest UK shows to date this summer, bringing the ‘After Hours Til Dawn’ tour to Manchester and London with support from Kaytranada and Mike Dean.

The Weeknd, June 2023:

10 – Manchester, Etihad Stadium

July 2023:

7 – London, Wembley Stadium

8 – London, Wembley Stadium

August 2023:

18 – London, Wembley Stadium