"I'm still digesting it, to be honest with you," Tesfaye says of his success.
"But the screams keep getting louder, dude."Tesfaye comes over to say hi, dressed in black Levi's and a Roots hoodie, his tsunami of hair piled high atop his head.
For Tesfaye, that's relatively clean, but he knows the pensioners in Twickenham might disagree.
So when the verdict comes back "no swearing," he nods and smoothly pivots to a censored version — a small gesture that says a lot about the kind of professional he has become."The Hills" is currently enjoying its fourth straight week at Number One, a feat made even more impressive because it took the place of another Weeknd track, "Can't Feel My Face" — Spotify's official song of the summer, and the only song about cocaine ever to be lip-synced by Tom Cruise on network TV.
"I was everything an R&B singer wasn't," he says. Early Weeknd songs were atmospheric and chilly, their thick narcotic haze sliced by his broken-glass falsetto.
The lyrics were an addiction counselor's worst nightmare: pills, pain, shame, serotonin, danger.
Tesfaye is just the 12th artist in history to score back-to-back Number Ones, a group that includes Elvis Presley, the Beatles and Taylor Swift.
His new album, has sold more than half a million copies in a couple of months, and he's preparing to launch a national arena tour in November.
Right now, they're trying to figure out how to get from Norway, where Tesfaye will be for promo in a few days, to Texas, where he has a show. The tour manager says he'll check, but they're talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars.
A lot of artists started doing things faster and quicker after that: Justin Timberlake dropped two albums in a year, Beyoncé dropped a surprise album." He's equally proud of the music itself: "I'm not gonna say any names, but just listen to the radio.
Every song is As Tesfaye said in a 2013 interview, "I was hungry....
But even then, few would have pegged Tesfaye for the global superstar he is now — least of all him. "At the time, I thought I'd be a punk star — grow my hair out, acne on my face, super-fucking-skinny.
I was looking at artists like Iggy Pop and the Ramones, or Afropunk. And then it's like, ' And now, a few words about the hair: The Weeknd's hair is by far his most recognizable trait.