The Weeknd Explains Overcoming Performance Anxiety And ‘The Darkness’ With Sobriety

The Weeknd battled insecurities and a low self esteem earlier in his career that turned out to ultimately work in his favor. The secretive singer dropping all those dope songs was still a mystery to many of his listeners who wanted to know the face or faces behind the songs now viewed as genre-busting classics. The mystery only added to his legend and heightened his initial stardom.

As he explained in an earlier interview, The Weeknd keeping a low-key profile had nothing to do with publicity, but more with insecurities. He hated how he looked in pictures and preferred to “put his music to hot girls” and let “the music speak for itself.” However, his buzz was becoming a roar and the shy entertainer could no longer stay behind the scenes. He had dedicated fans now and they desperately wanted to see him.

To combat the anxiety that comes with allowing yourself to be vulnerable in front of thousands, The Weeknd, relied heavily on destructive vices. “When it comes to performing and being that person, you need to be strict,” The Weeknd explained to Beats 1’s Zane Lowe in a preview for a forthcoming interview. “I’m not up there lip-syncing. I don’t have back-up dancers, I don’t have crazy sh*t going on. It’s all about me and the microphone. I used to get on stage drunk [because] of nerves.” Thankfully, that’s no longer the case, continuing, “You have to fight the nerves. You have to fight [being scared]. That’s something I had to do and once I did, I feel like people are more nervous to see me than I am to see them.”

Things still get a little difficult for the 26-year-old entertainer, but thanks to a support system made up of his day one friends, Abel no longer finds himself slipping into the darkness. “I have a good team. It’s good to have a good team. Especially a team that you grew up with. I feel like everybody loses who they are when they start cutting the people that made them who they are.”

The full interview doesn’t air until later, but peep other clips where he talks Kendrick Lamar being a genius and cutting off his iconic hair.