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Abel Tesfaye (born February 16, 1990), better known by his stage name The Weeknd (pronounced weakened), is a Canadian recording artist and record producer of Ethiopian descent. Songs recorded under The Weeknd name first leaked in late 2010, though the identity of the individual behind the project was initially unknown. The Weeknd released a nine-song free album, House of Balloons, on 21 March 2011. This album is a part of a trilogy which includes Thursday, released on 18 August 2011, and Echoes of Silence, released on 21 December 2011. The song "High for This" was featured in the promo for the final season of the HBO show Entourage On June 16, 2011, House of Balloons was named as a longlisted nominee for the 2011 Polaris Music Prize. On July 6, the album was named as one of ten shortlisted nominees but eventually lost to Arcade Fire's The Suburbs. On December 21, 2011 at 11:07 p.m. EST Tesfaye released his highly anticipated third album Echoes of Silence. The Weeknd's site crashed shortly after due to the large number of downloads. The Weeknd quickly provided a Hulkshare link to keep the album available while the official site was down.
Since hitting the scene, The Weeknd has received praise from a number of musical publications, including those of MTV, BET, Rolling Stone, XXL, The Source and 2DopeBoyz, who have all dubbed him the "Songbird of his Generation", as well as the "best musical talent since Michael Jackson" (John Norris, MTV).