11.24.2016

The Weeknd Talks ‘Genius’ Kendrick Lamar, Anxiety, & Cutting His Hair

On the eve of Starboy’s release, The Weeknd opens up about his highly-anticipated album.

During a Q&A with Beats 1, the Canadian crooner spoke about what it was like to work with Kendrick Lamar on “Sidewalks.”

“He’s a genius,” he said. “He probably came in the afternoon and left late at night. He did it there on the spot. He played the record over and over. I played him songs, the ‘Starboy’ theme, of course, which he incorporated into his verse. He would just walk around, we had food, and he’s writing his verse in his head. He’d go to his phone, look at it a few, put it back in, start walking around. He then at one point went into the studio booth, closed the door, and I could hear him yelling his verse.”

Abel assured fans that this will be a special appearance from K-Dot. “He put his all into it,” he said. “It wasn’t just a random Kendrick Lamar verse, it was something special because again, I don’t like to say this all the time, but we’ve known each other for a while and it’s crazy how we started connecting on this record.”

Sobriety also came up during the interview, with Weeknd saying his team keeps him on track, but that he’s also “strict” with his professionalism these days.

“When it comes down to performing and being that person, you need to be strict,” he says. “I’m not up there lip-synching. I don’t have backup dancers or crazy shit going on. It’s just me and the microphone and I used to go on stage drunk. The nerves.”

In the past, sobriety wasn’t the only issue. He also used to face anxiety on stage. “If you ever see young artists and they’re not sounding good,” he said. “It’s their nerves. Anytime you see your favorite artist and he or she is screwing up, or not hitting those notes, it’s not because they can’t sing, they’re scared. You have to fight that. I had to fight that.”

Finally, Abel also talked about what it felt like to chop off his famous locks and admitted that he still has them in a safe.

“I did keep it,” he said. “I was thinking about it for a bit. The vision wasn’t there anymore. It was there and just like the music was getting sad. [Cutting it] was the greatest feeling of all time. It was so good. I could sleep better. I felt lighter. I perform better. I feel better.”

Yesterday, Abel teased the project with the release of his Mania short film, but the full Starboy album, featuring K-Dot, Future, Lana Del Rey, and Daft Punk, will be out Friday (Nov. 25).