The Weeknd has lived up to the hype.
In little more than five years, the former Abel Tesfaye has gone from unknown mixtape artist to global sensation.
His 2016 release “Starboy” topped the charts in 90 countries and set a new mark for worldwide streams in its first week.
The Toronto native, who performs 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 19, at Boardwalk Hall, has also earned multiple industry plaudits, including the Grammy for Best Urban Contemporary Album for his 2015 breakout release “Beauty Behind the Madness.” The latter featured the hit singles “The Hills,” “Can’t Feel My Face,” “Often,” “In the Night” and “Acquainted.”
The Weeknd won a second Grammy for Best R&B Performance — and received his first Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song — for the track “Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
Beyond the music, the Toronto native has generated headlines for his high-profile love life — his current squeeze is singer-actress Selena Gomez.
Here are five things to know about The Weeknd before he hits A.C.:
1. His music is alternative R&B
The Weeknd is part of the emerging category of “alternative R&B,” which combines elements of hip-hop, pop and electronica. The term has also been applied to such genre-defying (and diverse) artists as Frank Ocean, Janelle Monae and Miguel.
The Weeknd’s celebrity fan base includes everyone from Babyface and Drake to Nick Jonas and Halsey.
2. He’s become a brand
The Weeknd (and his XO brand) recently teamed up with graffiti artist Futura 2000 and Bravado for a limited edition “capsule collection,” featuring bomber jackets, denim jackets, caps, hoodies and T-shirts.
The collection was available in pop-up shops in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and five other cities.
The Weeknd is also currently featured in H&M’s spring push, which includes menswear pieces created in conjunction with his XO brand, and last year signed with Puma as a global brand ambassador.
3. The Weeknd and Selena Gomez are officially an item
As if there were any doubts about The Weeknd’s relationship with singer-actress Selena Gomez, the tabloid twosome appeared earlier this month for the first time together on the red carpet at the annual Met Gala in New York City. They obliged the paparazzi — and their fans — doing the full celeb perp walk, canoodling and all. For those who keep track, she wore a custom Coach dress and he chose a classic black tux.
It was just a year ago that The Weeknd strutted the red carpet at the Met Gala with his former girlfriend, top model Bella Hadid, who appeared in his 2015 video for “In the Night.”
Alas, they broke up in November.
4. His hair makes headlines
The Weeknd caused a mini-sensation last fall when he chopped his signature, 3-D dread locks in conjunction with the release of “Starboy.”
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His longtime ‘do earned him comparisons with the late ‘80s celebrity artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.
5. He’s a social media force
The Weeknd has cracked another Top 10 list — Billboard’s Social 50 chart, which determines rankings based on popularity on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Wikipedia and Tumblr.
Billboard credits his rise with his guest appearance on “Lust for Life,” the title track for the forthcoming album from Lana del Rey, as well as buzz from the April 25 kick off in Vancouver of the North American leg of his “Starboy: Legend of the Fall” tour.