Are you a fan of Abel Makkonen Tesfaye? You may not recognize the name right away, but he also goes by The Weeknd. Now you know who we’re talking about, don’t you?

Tesfaye has been calling himself The Weeknd since 2010, when he anonymously uploaded a few of his songs (“What You Need”, “Loft Music”, and “The Morning”) to YouTube. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, The Weeknd is of Ethiopian descent. He actually never left Toronto until he was 21-years old! Here’s some more fun facts you may not know about him:

1. The Weeknd is an incredibly private person, which makes his choice of a career quite odd! Even his most die-hard fans know few details about his personal life. In 2012, he said he doesn’t like to do interviews because he’s “the most boring person to talk to.” These days, he’s been a bit more open with the press than in the past.

 

The Weeknd

 

2. With his father absent while he was growing up and his mother busy working, The Weeknd spent a great deal of time with his grandmother. Because of this, Amharic (the official language in Ethiopia) was actually the first language he learned!

 

The Weeknd

 

3. The Weeknd’s goals include becoming as influential Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson for today’s kids. In an interview with the New York Times he said, “These kids, you know, they don’t have a Michael Jackson. They don’t have a Prince. They don’t have a Whitney. Who else is there? Who else can really do it at this point?”

 

 

4. Before becoming famous, The Weeknd used to record Boyz II Men cover songs!

 

The Weeknd

 

5. He’s been very inspired by Kanye West and Lana Del Ray. Of Kanye West he says, ““He definitely helped craft who I’ve been, subconsciously, for the past few years. To actually be with him and talk to him and work with him, it’s just like coming to life.” As for Del Ray, he points out: ““Me and Lana have been friends for a long time. I’ve inspired her, she’s inspired me. I feel like we’ve always been talking to each other through our music. She is the girl in my music, and I am the guy in her music.”

 

The Weeknd