The Weeknd’s long-awaited sophomore LP Beauty Behind the Madness, hits stores on Friday. The Toronto singer, who will be performing at the MTV VMAs on Sunday, lands the cover of Billboard’s September issue. In the cover story, The Weeknd discusses his transition from an elusive artist with a cult following to a pop star, joining Taylor Swift on stage this summer, working with producer Max Martin and songwriter Savan Kotecha, and idolizing Michael Jackson.
Tesfaye admires, even emulates, trailblazing black pop giants. One of his prime role models, along with Prince, is Michael Jackson: When he first read the lyrics to “Dirty Diana,” which he covered on Trilogy, Tesfaye says, “I got emotional — it’s when I first knew I wanted to write songs.” Indeed, critics have compared the bubble and flow of “Can’t Feel My Face” to Jackson, and [Savan] Kotecha says the groove of “In the Night” was inspired by the “swing” of Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel.”
Read the cover story here and go behind-the-scenes of the shoot below.
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