The Weeknd Shares Plan to Retire Stage Name: ‘I Still Want to Kill the Weeknd’

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Abel Tesfaye has been a force in the music industry for more than a decade under the guise of the Weeknd, but it appears the alter ego may be entering retirement pretty soon.

In a new interview with W Magazine, “The Idol” actor and co-creator discussed his plans to release new music and dove deep into behind-the-scenes details on his upcoming musical drama that’s set to premiere on HBO later this June.

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“It’s getting to a place and a time where I’m getting ready to close the Weeknd chapter,” he told the publication. “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.”

Tesfaye has previously spoken about an elaborate roll-out plan for his next musical project and hinted at the completion of a trilogy that includes 2020’s “After Hours” and last year’s “Dawn FM.” Though the specifics of those plans remain unconfirmed, the singer did say that “The album I’m working on now is probably my last hurrah as The Weeknd… This is something that I have to do. As The Weeknd, I’ve said everything I can say.”

On the theme of alter egos, Tesfaye spoke at length about the trials and tribulations of balancing his time as the Weeknd while also stepping into his character — a cult leader named Tedros — on the new HBO series that also stars Lily Rose-Depp.

“It was tough to go from one head to another,” he said, going on to explain how the overlap played into him having to cancel a second concert at Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium after losing his voice.

“That’s never happened before,” he continued. “My theory is that I forgot how to sing because I was playing Tedros, a character who doesn’t know how to sing. 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.”

The W Magazine interview appeared as part of a cover story that also featured commentary from Depp. One of the most-anticipated series of the year, “The Idol” has had its fair share of scandal-ridden delays and reshoots following the sudden exit of original director Amy Seimetz in 2022. Seimetz was later replaced by “Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson in a move that drew a fair share of criticism.

“Film and TV is a new creative muscle for me,” Tesfaye said about the reshoots. “I don’t release my music until I think it is great. Why would this be any different?”

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