The Weeknd Talks David Bowie, Prince Influences On New Album

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The Weeknd discusses the David Bowie and Prince influences behind his new LP, 'Starboy,' in a wide-ranging interview. Mike Lewis/Getty

The Weeknd channels two recently departed pop icons, David Bowie and Prince, on his upcoming third LP, Starboy. In an expansive Wall Street Journal profile, the R&B singer said the 18-track set is “a thousand percent” inspired by the artists, with the album title alluding to Bowie’s 1972 classic “Starman.”

“I just love Bowie; I think he’s the ultimate inventor,” the Weeknd, aka Abel Tesfaye, told the Journal. He added that he and Prince were scheduled to work together in the late musician’s Paisley Park studio, but those plans changed when the “Purple Rain” icon died in April. Prince made his last TV appearance in November 2015, presenting Tesfaye with an American Music Award.

The Weeknd announced Starboy in September and released the album’s title track, a collaboration with Daft Punk. The singer told The Wall Street Journal that working with the French duo was an unorthodox but rewarding experience.

“Their studio is like a spaceship; there’s a lot of gear,” he said. “But the way they make music, the way they explain it, is very cinematic. It’s like they’re reading a page out of a novel – ‘We want to make sure that at the end, it feels like the sun’s coming up, and maybe there’s a car chase.’ They can get technical, but it was interesting how they visualize making music.”

Tesfaye also said he isn’t rattled by his swift rise to fame. “Maybe age has something to do with it,” he said. “Maybe 25 is a good age to get hit with that, as opposed to some artists who get it when they’re 13 or 14 and they can’t handle it. I had been in the game for a bit – I was doing arenas already, without a hit single. So it was comfortable, I was good. I kind of keep to myself anyway.”

Starboy is out November 25th. The Weeknd recently announced “Phase One” of his massive Starboy: Legend of the Fall tour, which – after a month of European dates – commences April 25th in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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