4 Years Later : How The Weeknd Covering Michael Jackson’s ‘Dirty Diana’ Changed His Career

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Just before 2011 ended, The newly Toronto artist, The Weeknd decided to release the last instalment of a musical trilogy called, ‘Echoes Of Silence.’

In the beginning of the year, The Weeknd was unknown to the world. The people who knew him in Toronto, knew him as Abel Tesfaye. By the end of the year, The Weeknd was involved in Drake’s Take Care album, that would go on to win the Grammy for Best Rap Album.

By the end of the year, The Weeknd was positioned by music journalists as a member of a new genre, PBR&B; Described as an emerging, stylistic alternative to contemporary R&B. He was given high praise throughout the year for his musical outpouring and decided to finish the year, with ‘Echoes Of Silence.’

The opening track to Echoes Of Silence was one of the most daring acts, a new artist can make. It was borderline, career suicide. Maybe thats why, the track wasn’t written out fully. The opening track was put as an acronym. The opening track was a cover from the greatest artist of all time.

The Weeknd titled the track ‘D.D.’ It wasn’t until you heard the track, that you realized, it was Michael Jackson’s Dirty Diana. Fast forward 4 years, comparing The Weeknd to Michael Jackson isn’t uncommon. One of the biggest Weeknd’s track this year, ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ is essentially, an homage to the King Of Pop.

The Weeknd even said in an interview  this year, with the New York Times, “These kids, you know, they don’t have a Michael Jackson. They don’t have a Prince. They don’t have a Whitney. Who else is there?”

But in 2011, before Echoes Of Silence dropped, The Weeknd wasn’t completely being compared to Michael Jackson. And The Weeknd wasn’t giving any interviews declaring his admiration. There were publications stating similarities between the two in reviews for House Of Balloons, the first instalment in the trilogy, but there wasn’t anything efficient to the contrary. Echoes Of Silence started it all.

And you can’t help, but think, that The Weeknd was telling us something by covering the song. In 2013, The Weeknd did a Reddit AMA to promote, his debut album, Kiss Land and had this to say about covering Michael Jackson song when a fan asked him.

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 3.50.38 AM

If The Weeknd thinks nobody should cover a Michael Jackson track, why would he daringly, do one himself in 2011? Especially given how risky it would be as an, up and coming artist. If he faltered in channeling the King Of Pop, The Weeknd would have taken a major career hit, but for The Weeknd though, he succeeded with the cover. Some people even say its better than the original.

4 Years ago today, in December, The Weeknd released ‘Echoes Of Silence.’ And the Michael Jackson comparisons officially began.The Weeknd may have gotten experimental with his debut album, Kiss Land in 2013, but in 2015, The Weeknd finally showed us his true potential that was sparked on Echoes Of Silence from covering Dirty Diana.

He released his sophomore album, ‘Beauty Behind The Madness’ and released tracks like, Can’t Feel My Face and In The Night, proving the Michael Jackson comparisons weren’t far fetched. 4 years ago, The Weeknd started the Michael Jackson comparison on Echoes Of Silence’s D.D and 4 years later, he’s officially justified them.

The jacket he received, that was worn by Michael Jackson & signed by the rest of the Jacksons is just the icing on the cake.


From The 6ix,With Love

Thank You For Reading

Sincerely, Kid From The 6ix

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