Canadian superstar The Weeknd revealed intimate details of his personal life as GQ‘s first-ever global cover star. The “Starboy” singer opened up about how he separates work from his almost-sober lifestyle and love life. During the interview, the artist, who is known to get into character for his album releases, shared his approach to maintaining his on-stage persona and existing in real-life when not in performance mode.
“The lines were blurry at the beginning,” he recalled to the outlet on differentiating between The Weeknd and himself, Abel Tesfaye. “And as my career developed—as I developed as a man—it’s become very clear that Abel is someone I go home to every night. And The Weeknd is someone I go to work as.”
He continued to describe the duality of the two personas, adding, “Abel can be badass sometimes, man. But I guess The Weeknd is Hyde. Abel is Dr. Jekyll.”
For the “I Can’t Feel My Face” singer the heavy use of hard drugs and alcohol are intertwined with some of his biggest hits. However, his substance use habits have changed. The 31-year-old admitted he now adheres to a “sober lite” lifestyle—he still drinks on occasion and uses weed.
“I’m not a heavy drinker, as much as I used to be. The romance of drinking isn’t there,” he confessed. “Drugs were a crutch. It was me thinking that I needed it. And not doing the work to figure out how not to need it. And I’ve spent the last few years realizing that and thanking God that I don’t need it. Because for a lot of people, it’s hard to shake it. But I knew I didn’t want it.”
The Weeknd also shared his desire to work with Tyler The Creator. The 30-year-old rapper recently released his album Call Me If You Get Lost and took the stage at the BET Awards for the first time with a performance of “Lumberjack.”
“I’d love to work with Arca. Arca’s great. I’d love to work with Kanye again. Especially on production,” said the Grammy Award-winning singer. “I got mad love for Tyler, the Creator, and what he’s doing right now. Tyler is funny, man. I remember he came to one of my performances—I think it was like a festival performance. And he was very vocal about how ‘Starboy’ was his favorite song at the time. You can tell he’s waiting for the song. I could see him. As soon as the song happened, he’s like, ‘All right, cool. Thanks.’ And he just peaced out. It was pretty funny. But he’s somebody that I really admire because he wears his feelings on his sleeve.”
As the Toronto native gears up to release new music, he is also being recognized for his charitable work. The Weeknd is set to receive the Quincy Jones Humanitarian Award during the Inaugural Black Music Action Coalition Awards this September.
Read The Weeknd’s full cover story with GQ here and check out his performance at the 2020 VMA’s below: