Is The Weeknd the new Michael Jackson?

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Lucy Musselman, Staff Writer/Website Manager

Abel Tesfaye, otherwise known by his stage name The Weeknd, blew up in 2015 with his album Beauty Behind the Madness, which became his first number one album on the Billboard 200. Even though his music career started in 2010, his enormous popularity started in May 2015 when he released a music video for a new song The Hills, which had much success (debuted at number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the week’s “Hot Shot” debut; the single has now topped the chart at number 1).

Michael Jackson, or as many refer to him as The King of Pop,was the most successful pop artist before his passing  in June 2009 at age 50. He became member in a band with his 4 elder brothers at only 6 years old and created the Jackson 5. Shortly after, at 13 years old, he began his solo career. His awards include many Guinness World Records, 13 Grammy Awards, 26 American Music Awards (more than any artist), 13 number-one singles in the US in his solo career (more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era), and estimated sales of over 400 million records worldwide, which makes him one of the best-selling artists of all time.

While Jackson’s success and recognition surpasses The Weeknd’s by great amounts, they are very similar in their musical and lyrical styles. For instance, In The Night, a song from The Weeknd’s most recent album Beauty Behind the Madness, is very Michael Jackson-esque. Songwriter Savan Kotecha says the groove of In The Night was inspired by the swing of Jackson’s The Way You Make Me Feel. In fact, in late 2012, The Weeknd released his compilation album Trilogy featuring a cover of Jackson’s song Dirty Diana. When he first read the lyrics to Jackson’s song, he says, “I got emotional — it’s when I first knew I wanted to write songs.” Critics have even compared the flow of Tesfaye’s song Can’t Feel My Face to Jackson.

Tesfaye has said he hopes to be as influential as Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson for the youth of today. “These kids, you know, they don’t have a Michael Jackson,” he told The New York Times. “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?”Also, before concerts, Tesfaye will listen to Jackson’s Off The Wall to get his energy up.

Even though Michael Jackson will forever be the King of Pop, The Weeknd is definitely starting to blow up at only 25 years old. Tesfaye will have to work incredibly hard to get anywhere near Jackson’s success, but at this rate, he could surely be on his way.