Winter Music Conference

The Weeknd at Ultra Music Festival 2013

Imagine a weekend with the Weeknd in the tropics.

Downtown Miami is before him. And just days before Ultra Music Festival 2013, Abel Tesfaye is feeling good.

It's 5 a.m., and the future R&B superstar is leaving a penthouse condo in Brickell with his homie Hawk Trappers and three pairs of giggling tetas, headed for Club Space, when he gets a text from his homie Drake: "Fuck you doin man, lol, we in the Range."

All of his friends have huge smiles on their faces. His heart is blasting ultraviolet supernovas against the windows inside the Metromover. He's sipping a drank from the Grammy he just won. And the cup runneth over.

On February 16, 1990, Abel Tesfaye was born in Scarborough, Canada, to Ethiopian parents. Two decades later, the Weeknd, his alter ego, arose amid late-night club exploits and moody bedroom demos. And by the time he was 23, his mixtapes had found millions of listeners thanks to fellow Canadian and emotive hip-hopper Drake, who helped Tesfaye's releases House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence take off.

The Weeknd's sudden fame brought big-time concert cash, major-label distribution of his XO imprint, and his first proper record, Trilogy, a remastered compilation album of all those moody bedroom demos plus three new cuts. That's how, in just a few short years, Tesfaye's falsetto tales of woe and excess and his high-style art videos have captivated millions upon millions of deeply devoted superfans — like cybergirl Therealdes_xx, who recently pleaded via Facebook: "Let me be your hoe."

Now the Ethiopian kid is burning the best Bob Marley, getting higher than Selassie, and prepping to deliver doses of musical serotonin reuptake inhibitors to the Ultra masses, a couple hundred thousand ratchet revelers who'll converge on UMF's pop-up universe of stages, tents, and LED Jumbotrons.

So would you rather hear the echoes or fly with the fireball by spending a weekend with the Weeknd in the tropics?

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Jacob Katel
Contact: Jacob Katel

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