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The Weeknd Says Starboy Was Influenced by Deaths of David Bowie and Prince


Nabil ElderkinThe Weeknd says the deaths of two late music icons, David Bowie and Prince, inspired his forthcoming album, Starboy.

“I just love Bowie, I think he’s the ultimate inventor,” the Grammy award-winning artist tells the Wall Street Journal.

The Weeknd says Starboy veers off into a different direction from the sound of his 2015 breakthrough album, Beauty Behind the Madness, which is especially noticeable in his latest single release, “False Alarm.” 

“I’ve never made a record like that. I’m doing things with my voice that I’ve never done before, and it kind of embodies all the inspirations of the album — the punked-out aspects of Bad BrainsThe Smiths,” Weeknd explains, citing the hardcore punk-reggae band and British ’80s alt-rock giants. 

The singer also talks about his experience working with electronic music duo Daft Punk, whose studio he describes as “like a spaceship” and record producer/songwriter extraordinaire Max Martin, whom Weeknd calls “very chill.” 

“He’s very zen in the studio. I tend to be a little more jumpy, but when I work with him, I bring that control back here,” he says.

“We’ve become very close. I’ll be working with him hopefully for a very long time.” 

Ultimately, The Weeknd knows that, over time, his musical changes could alienate some fans — but all great artists that leave a legacy “are the ones who make brave choices,” he tells the paper.

“I think if you make music trying to satisfy every listener, that’s where the problem comes, and that’s where you can go a little crazy,” he adds. 

“I’ve done that before, and I’ve noticed that the more free I am and the more creative control I have in the studio, the better reaction I get. The greatest thing I ever did was not have too many expectations.” 

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