From cult fave to pop superstar: The Weeknd caps breakout year with 7 Grammy noms | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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From cult fave to pop superstar: The Weeknd caps breakout year with 7 Grammy noms

The Weeknd performs during the 2015 Juno Awards, in Hamilton, Ont., on March 15, 2015. The Toronto native, born Abel Tesfaye, has been nominated for seven Grammys, including Best Record of the Year and Best Album of the Year awards in the run up to the 2015 Grammys. Fellow Canucks Drake and Justin Bieber earned a Grammy nod each. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
December 07, 2015 - 12:28 PM

For years, The Weeknd has loomed large on the fringes of mainstream music with pitch-black tunes that earned him critical kudos and a loyal cult following.

Fast track to 2015 and the future has certainly brightened for the R&B sensation dubbed the "prince of darkness."

The Weeknd (real name: Abel Tesfaye) has ascended into the pop stratosphere with a chart-topping album and a steady stream of infectious hit singles.

The Toronto native cemented his breakout year on Monday with seven Grammy nominations, including nods in the marquee record of the year and album of the year categories.

Notoriously press-shy, particularly at the beginning of his career, the artist was more concerned with his music than fame, said former Universal Music Canada president and CEO Randy Lennox during an interview with The Canadian Press earlier this year.

"It was always about the music," said Lennox, who signed The Weeknd three years ago.

"He just has good taste. His sense of melody, his stunning voice, and his cool look is a triple threat."

Nominated for Grammys are his album "Beauty Behind The Madness," the Michael Jackson-tinged hit "Can't Feel My Face," and slinky "Earned It" from the "Fifty Shades Of Grey" soundtrack.

His seven nominations tie him with Taylor Swift's tally. Both only trail Kendrick Lamar's 11 nods.

Fellow Canadian songwriters Ahmad Balshe, Stephan Moccio and Jason Quenneville also picked up nominations for working with The Weeknd.

The R&B star leads a strong Canadian contingent into the 57th annual Grammys including Drake and Justin Bieber, who have shared company near the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts in recent weeks.

Drake is nominated for best rap performance for "Back To Back," best rap song for "Energy" and best rap album for "If You're Reading This It's Too Late." He's also nominated in the best rap performance category for his part in the Nicki Minaj song "Truffle Butter," which also features Lil Wayne, and in the best rap/sung collaboration category for the Minaj song "Only," along with Lil Wayne and Chris Brown.

Bieber also nabbed a nomination for best dance recording for "Where Are U Now."

The Weeknd has emerged as one of the hottest names in music today.

His latest studio album, "Beauty Behind the Madness," was released in August and topped the Billboard charts for three straight weeks. It was recently named by Spotify as its most streamed album of the year.

The uptempo "Can't Feel My Face" earned The Weeknd his first No. 1 hit and was crowned by Rolling Stone as its top song of 2015.

The inescapable track was also the subject of a famous-fan tribute. During an appearance on "The Tonight Show" in July, Tom Cruise performed the hit in a lip-sync battle with Jimmy Fallon.

The Weeknd also performed on "Saturday Night Live" in October and was slated to return to TV on Tuesday for the pre-taped "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show."

He'll finish off the year performing a string of sold-out concerts before hitting the road with Rihanna on her upcoming world tour.

"He is incredibly bright. Authentically shy — that is real," Lennox said.

"And even his personality now, as he breaks, he's still a very, very humble young man. Not overwhelmed, incidentally. Just riding this and having the time of his life."

Other Canadian nominees for the Grammys, which will be handed out on Feb. 15, 2016, include:

— Burlington, Ont., native Charles Moniz, part of the team nominated for record of the year for "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars

— Cuban-Canadian singer-songwriter Alex Cuba for best Latin pop album for "Healer"

— Joni Mitchell, an eight-time Grammy winner, for best album notes for "Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting To Be Danced"

— Toronto's Ron Korb for best new age album for "Asia Beauty"

— Newfoundland and Labrador native Matt Maher for best contemporary Christian music album for "Saints And Sinners" and best contemporary Christian music performance/song for "Because He Lives (Amen)"

— Jan Haust and Peter J. Moore as part of the team up for best historical album for "The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11"

— Compilation producer Kevin Howes of Vancouver for best historical album for "Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, And Country 1966–1985"

— Montreal's Michael Silver, also known as CFCF, for best remixed recording non-classical for "Berlin By Overnight (CFCF Remix)"

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version listed only three nominations for Drake.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2015
The Canadian Press

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