The Weeknd first emerged in 2011 and became an instant sensation. His mixtape, House of Balloons, was released as a free download on March 21, 2011 and immediately hailed as a modern classic. In fact, Complex rated it as the best album of that year. By the end of 2011, the singer born Abel Tesfaye had released two more free mixtapes, Thursday and Echoes of Slience. He also gave Drake a big assist on his Grammy-winning sophomore album, Take Care. Yet despite his rising stardom, The Weeknd remained one of the most enigmatic stars of the Internet era. It's hard to find a decent picture of him, much less learn anything about his creative process or his back story: He simply never did interviews.
That is, until now.
As he prepares to release his highly anticipated debut album Kiss Land, The Weeknd granted Complex the exclusive opportunity to speak with him for the first time. Damien Scott (the scribe who penned both of our Drake cover stories) flew to L.A. to meet with the elusive star. We collaborated with his XO team to create a moody, atmospheric cover that complements The Weeknd's music, shot by photographer David Black. In Tesfaye's first interview, he speaks in depth about his work with Drake on Take Care, his admiration for R. Kelly and Portishead, and why his upcoming debut album, Kiss Land, is going to be like a horror movie. The issue goes on sale in August, but you can read the full cover story right now...
WATCH OUR EXCLUSIVE VIDEO OF THE WEEKND: