Everyone loves a happy ending, and the story of The Weeknd is one that gives us hope. Before raising to success and becoming a headliner at Super Bowl, the Canadian artist was homeless for a time.
During the recent Super Bowl LV, The Weeknd – whose real name is Abel Tesfaye – sang a medley of his most famous songs. Among others, he performed I Feel It Coming and Blinding Lights.
Coming From A Rough Past
Despite getting to perform on one of the most prestigious stages globally, Tesfaye’s life did not start easy. He did not make a secret of his past when he was homeless and broke in Toronto.
After a rough upbringing, he became a “street kid” hanging out in the suburb of Scarborough. He spoke about the important role of music in his life, saying:
“I really thought film was gonna be my way out, but I couldn’t really make a movie to feel better, you know?”
“Music was very direct therapy; it was immediate and people liked it. It definitely saved my life.”
No Roof Over His Head
For a time, Tesfaye used to live with two friends in an apartment provided through welfare benefits. They sometimes stole food just to have something to eat and occasionally even sold drugs to make it to the end of the month.
When they had to leave the apartment, the only way to keep a roof over their heads was to sleep on the couches of various acquaintances. Sometimes, he would hook up with girls to have a place to stay. He admitted:
“There was, like, three girls that thought legit that I was their boyfriend.”
During this “no rules” phase of his life, he also spent some time in jail. In his words, the experience pushed him to “smarten up, to focus.”
Getting A Second Chance At Life
The Weeknd is aware of his luck and that not everyone is so blessed. Talking about his success, he said:
“A lot of people don’t get that second chance. But around that age, you usually get one second chance after a slap on the wrist.”
Of course, one needs to take the opportunity and decide to change. He continued:
“And you either take the experience and think, ‘This is it, the final straw,’ or you don’t. And the next move after that? It’s your entire life.”
“You become who you become because of the next move you make.”
Considering how he got to perform in front of millions of people on the most prestigious sports stage, he did move in the right direction. Indeed it was no piece of cake, but his inspiring story is one we are happy to hear.