The Weeknd Explains Why He 'Got Angry' When He First Heard Usher's 'Climax'

By Hayden Brooks

April 8, 2020

The Weeknd’s dominance over the music scene is crystal clear, but the pop star’s initial influence over the landscape wasn’t easy for him to process.

In his new cover story for Variety, Abel spoke about hearing his impact just one year after the release of his debut mixtape, House of Balloons, in 2011. “House of Balloons literally changed the sound of pop music before my eyes,” the singer told the mag without exaggeration. “I heard 'Climax,' that [2012] Usher song, and was like, 'Holy f**k, that’s a Weeknd song.'"

He went on to describe the influence as "very flattering," but the smash still arrived with a mixed set of emotions. "I knew I was doing something right, but I also got angry. But the older I got, I realized it’s a good thing," he continued.

In case you were wondering, the lead single off Usher's Looking 4 Myself was produced by Diplo and won the vet a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance.

Elsewhere in the in-depth feature, Abel spoke about his new album, After Hours, admitting that there had been brief discussions to push back the LP amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he wasn’t having any of that. "Fans had been waiting for the album, and I felt like I had to deliver it," he explained. "The commercial success is a blessing, especially because the odds were against me: [Music] streaming is down 10 percent, stores are closed, people can't go to concerts, but I didn't care. I knew how important it was to my fans."

View this post on Instagram

In this week's Variety cover story, The Weeknd opens up about his past, turning 30 and getting vulnerable on his first full-length album in over three years,#AfterHours. ⁠ ⁠ While the album ultimately was released to rapturous response from critics and fans as planned on March 20 — at the end of a horrifying week when the grim reality of the pandemic’s magnitude finally struck the United States — that date was by no means a foregone conclusion. Albums by Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Sam Smith, Willie Nelson and many others have been pushed several months, due to practical matters of marketing and touring as well as the bigger concern of appearing tone-deaf or insensitive to the fast unfolding tragedy.⁠ ⁠ The Weeknd’s team considered the possibility of delaying the album. But “I cut that discussion off right away,” The Weeknd says. “Fans had been waiting for the album, and I felt like I had to deliver it. The commercial success is a blessing, especially because the odds were against me: [Music] streaming is down 10%, stores are closed, people can’t go to concerts, but I didn’t care. I knew how important it was to my fans.”⁠ ⁠ Link in bio. (📸: @paridukovic)

A post shared by Variety (@variety) on

Photo: Getty Images

UsherThe Weeknd

Chat About The Weeknd Explains Why He 'Got Angry' When He First Heard Usher's 'Climax'

    Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeartRadio App.

    Connect

    © 2020 iHeartMedia, Inc.