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The Weeknd considers idea of changing his stage name

“Maybe pull a YE and just legally change my name to ABEL”

By Joe Goggins

The Weeknd in a screengrab from his 'Sacrifice' video, 2022
(Photo: YouTube)

The Weeknd is weighing up the possibility of changing his stage name, he has claimed on Twitter.

The Canadian R&B star, who topped the album charts on both sides of the Atlantic earlier this year with his fifth record, ‘Dawn FM’, suggested he might “pull a YE” and change his name to ‘ABEL’; his legal name is Abel Tesfaye. He was referring to the decision by Kanye West last year to legally change his name to Ye.

“You guys are hilarious. I feel like I should change my stage name to ABEL at this point lol,” said the ‘Blinding Lights’ star in the first of a series of tweets on the subject. “Maybe pull a YE and just legally change my name to ABEL. No last name. Like Madonna or Cher or Prince. I don’t know it seems like a lot.”

Later on, he again floated the idea to his near-16 million followers. “ABEL formally [sic] known as The Weeknd?” Fellow singer-songwriter John Legend approved the idea, telling Tesfaye that “ABEL is dope”. Tesfaye responded by saying, “I’m tempted …”

The story behind the origin of Tesfaye’s stage name was revealed almost ten years ago, when he took place in an ‘Ask Me Anything’ session on Reddit with fans, per Complex. He said he was originally going to use the name as the title of his breakthrough mixtape, ‘House of Balloons’, but instead decided to go by it as a pseudonym.

“I hated my name at the time though so I tried it as a stage name,” he said. “It sounded cool. I took out the ‘e’ because there was already a Canadian band named The Weekend (copyright issues).” In an interview with GQ last year, he was quizzed on the distinction between his personal life and his superstar alter-ego. “The lines were blurry at the beginning. And as my career developed—as I developed as a man—it’s become very clear that Abel is someone I go home to every night. And The Weeknd is someone I go to work as.”

The news comes after a busy March of announcements for the star; he revealed plans for a US stadium tour with Doja Cat in support, as well as a forthcoming appearance in an episode of ‘The Simpsons’.