The Weeknd or Abel Tesfaye? Singer begins promise to ‘shed that skin’ on social media

A man wears dark sunglasses and a dark suit as he smiles against a blue backdrop
The Weeknd has reverted to his birth name, Abel Tesfaye, on social media.
(Jordan Strauss / Invision/Associated Press)
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A new chapter for the Weeknd is underway. Do you feel it coming?

A week after saying he was ready to move on from his stage persona, the Grammy-winning singer surprised his fans Monday when he changed his name on social media to his birth name, Abel Tesfaye.

“why have you changed your display name what’s going on here @theweeknd,” one user tweeted.


HBO dropped a trailer for its recording of the Weeknd’s performance at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood from last fall.

Feb. 10, 2023

“the weeknd is changing his name ??,” a second fan wrote.


The name change was met with mixed reaction and jokes, but it’s a move Tesfaye seems to have been thinking about for a while now. Earlier this month, Tesfaye told W Magazine that he was on a “cathartic path” and reconsidering his presentation.

‘Thank you from the bottom of my heart for ... coming back and showing me so much love,’ the Weeknd said after abruptly ending his last Sofi show.

Nov. 27, 2022

“It’s getting to a place and a time where I’m getting ready to close the Weeknd chapter. I’ll still make music, maybe as Abel, maybe as the Weeknd,” he said.

Tesfaye continued: “But I still want to kill the Weeknd. And I will. Eventually. I’m definitely trying to shed that skin and be reborn.”

According to the interview, Tesfaye’s Weeknd was a “character he created at the start of his career.”

Dozens of performers in black pants, red blazers and bandages dance on a football field
The Weeknd’s halftime performance at the 2021 Super Bowl in Tampa, Fla.
(Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

The character aspect to the Weeknd became more evident in recent years, when the Canadian singer-songwriter appeared at several awards shows with a bright red suit jacket, a bloody nose and bandages — as was the case at the 2020 MTV Music Video Awards and the 2020 American Music Awards.

He even brought the look all the way to the 2021 Super Bowl in Tampa, Fla. — remember all those Weeknd clones?

The Weeknd is getting dragged for his Wednesday response to Rolling Stone’s ‘The Icon’ exposé claiming HBO’s production is plagued with issues.

March 2, 2023

Tesfaye told W that his ability to perform as the Weeknd began to waver once he started acting on the forthcoming HBO series “The Idol,” in which he stars alongside Lily-Rose Depp as a nightclub promoter named Tedros.

“It was tough to go from one head to another. Then, after the concert, I lost my voice. No voice came out at all,” he said, referring to a September 2022 concert at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. “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.”

In a matter of weeks, Tesfaye will debut as Tedros in “The Idol.” And for now it seems fans will have to get used to seeing “Abel Tesfaye” on their social media timelines — whether or not they embrace the change.