The Weeknd Says He ‘Forgot How to Sing’ and Lost His Voice Because of Acting in ‘The Idol’: ‘It Was Terrifying’

Filming HBO’s “The Idol” led to something of a breakdown for Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye, the global pop star who is starring in the upcoming series as a self-help guru named Tedros, who takes aspiring pop star Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp) under his wing. Back in September, Tesfaye cut short a concert in Los Angeles because he lost his voice.

“I don’t know what just happened… but I just lost my voice,” the singer told the crowd from the stage. “This is killing me, I don’t want to stop the show but I can’t give you the concert I want to give you right now. I’m gonna make sure everybody’s good — you’ll get your money back — I’ll do a show real soon for you guys. But I wanted to come out and personally apologize.”

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Tesfaye rescheduled the show, but he revealed in a recent interview with W magazine that filming “The Idol” might’ve been responsible for his lost voice.

“I had to take off the Weeknd outfit, put on Tedros’s wig, shoot with Jocelyn, then go back to being the Weeknd,” the singer said. “It was tough to go from one head to another. Then, after the concert, I lost my voice. No voice came out at all. 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,” he added. “I may be looking too deeply into this, but it was terrifying. As the Weeknd, I’ve never skipped a concert. I’ve performed with the flu. I’ll die on that stage. But there was something very complicated going on with my mind at that moment.”

Tesfaye co-created “The Idol” with “Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson, who also told W magazine that the show was inspired by the pop singer contemplating his own relationship to his fans.

“Abel came to us with a pitch,” Levinson said. “He said something that I’ll always remember: ‘If I wanted to start a cult, I could.’ What he meant is that his fans were so loyal and devoted that they would follow him anywhere. That was the germ of the idea for ‘The Idol’: what happens when a pop star falls for the wrong guy and no one speaks up.”

“I’m going through a cathartic path right now,” Tesfaye added about juggling acting and music. “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. But I still want to kill the Weeknd. And I will. Eventually. I’m definitely trying to shed that skin and be reborn.”

“The Idol” is set to world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival before debuting June 4 on HBO.

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