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The Weeknd Gives Thanks to Michael Jackson


Image Courtesy Lamar Taylor/Republic RecordsThe Weeknd releases his second studio album, Beauty Behind The Madness, on Friday, and he says he was inspired to write songs by the late Michael Jackson, the anniversary of whose birth is Saturday.

The singer from Toronto covered Jackson’s “Dirty Diana” on his 2012 album Trilogy, and when he read the song’s lyrics, he tells Billboard, “I got emotional — it’s when I first knew I wanted to write songs.”

Thanks to “Love Me Harder,” his top ten duet with Ariana Grande, and “Can’t Feel My Face,” which remained at number one for nine weeks, The Weeknd has achieved mainstream success, which he says can be uncomfortable.  “The pop-star life is a new challenge,” he admits. The singer also says he was shocked by the crowd response when he performed with Taylor Swift at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey in July.

“When she introduced me and the whole stadium screamed their lungs out, it kind of threw me off,” he remembers. “I did not expect that reaction.”

Now he’s working with superstars such as Kanye West, who produced “Tell Your Friends” on the new album.  “We never disagreed on lyrics because I’m telling a story in my album,” he says about the collaboration, “and he respected my vision.”

The Weeknd is now preparing to headline the biggest tour of his career, The Madness Fall Tour, kicking off November 3 in his home town of Toronto. As he assesses the rapid rise in his career, he says, “I have much more control. I can go overboard, but nobody can stop me but myself.”

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