In the candid interview, the “Starboy” talks about how much of his sex-filled music is based in reality.
“A lot of it is experience,” he says. “House of Balloons is based off of a one-bedroom apartment I shared with all my friends. And we did what we were doing and then put it into music. And then the newer stuff is like that character in this lavish lifestyle.”
Now a bonafide pop star, Abel admits he despised pop music before his rise to fame. “I hated it,” he explains. “And then the sound of Trilogy became pop music. I’m mainstream. I’ll obviously have those purists who will be like, ‘Okay, this guy is too popular, this fuckin’ sounds nothing like Trilogy, so this fuckin’ sucks.'” This doesn’t bother him. “I don’t care at all,” he adds.
In recent years, Abel hasn’t just seen mainstream artists copy his sound. He’s also seen them copy his hair, a ‘do he’s said was inspired by artist Jean-Michael Basquiat and rapper Murs. “I couldn’t walk around without seeing the fuckin’ Weeknd hair,” he says now. “That’s what I called it. New artists, artists that have been around forever—I’m not going to say any names—but they were fuckin’ growing their hair.”
For the story, Abel is photographed in designer threads, including pieces by Louis Vuitton, Alexander Wang, Dior Homme, Prada, Emporio Armani, Chrome Hearts, and Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci. The photography was captured by Eric Ray Davidson.
Elsewhere, Abel talks about cutting his hair, being a sex symbol, Donald Trump, marriage, and children. See highlights from the Q&A below.
On Donald Trump’s ‘Grab Them’ Controversy: “I don’t know anybody that would do that. I know a lot of people in the industry, and I don’t know anybody. Like, a random girl that, like, you just spoke to? No. I mean… No. How do you even grab a pussy? Like, is it even grabbable? … America, man. They never fail you.”
On Cutting His Locks: “[Cutting off my hair] feels good, ’cause I get to blend in. If I want to go to a club, I can just go and I’m not there. I can go to a restaurant and I’m not there. I look like everybody else, which is boring, but maybe I just want to look like everybody else for a bit.”
On Being a Sex Symbol: “Listen, I’m not walkin’ around like fuckin’ Idris Elba, know what I mean? It’s like…You’ll probably describe me in this fuckin’ thing. I’m not–look at me, this is who I am. I’m not gonna walk into the club and be like, ‘Oh shit, I’m the sexiest guy in here.’ The reason why they want to fuck with me is because of what I do [in the studio]. So I’d rather just focus on doing that.”
On Marriage & Children: “I feel like I’m the kind of guy that would have kids before getting married. The first thing would be kids. Marriage is scary to me, man.”
On Self-Regulating: “I’m much more, like, self-regulating than I was four years ago, when I first started getting everything and enjoying life. I don’t focus on it as much as I used to. You know what I mean? Before, it’s like, ‘Holy fuck–this is amazing.’ Right now, it’s like a good song turns me on way more. Like, that gets me horny, like, literally gets me horny.”