The Weeknd has plenty of reasons to celebrate. After an epic 2015, the Canadian crooner is nominated for seven Grammys at Monday’s ceremony and an Oscar for his Fifty Shades of Grey hit “Earned It.” In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, he reflects on his success, the lack of diversity at the Oscars, and advice from Diddy.
“Puff once told me, once you taste a hit you want more. It’s blood,” said “The Hills” hitmaker. “There’s no real answer to it other than yes. But you have to just sit down and enjoy the moment.”
His moment was nearly overshadowed after the Academy Awards faced backlash for its lack of diversity among nominees. It was something Abel, the only major nominee of color, didn’t initially notice.
“I didn’t even realize it,” said Abel, who is up for Original Song at the Feb. 28 ceremony. “When I got nominated I wasn’t really looking at any other nominations. I was ecstatic, I was so happy. What an overwhelming feeling, it’s the Academy Awards. It’s like your hard work is finally getting recognized.
“Music is so diverse,” he added. “My fans couldn’t even put a face or color or anything to my music. The same with film, it’s such a diverse thing. Every movie you see now is inspired by diversity. So it’s unfortunate…. but I think it’s much deeper than the academy or deeper than the film or music industry. It’s an issue that the nation has been dealing with, and I’m glad this has sparked a conversation … it needed to happen. And good for the academy for trying to make the new changes.”
The controversy even made The Weeknd reconsider whether he should attend the show. “If [host] Chris Rock pulled out it would have been like holy… I definitely can’t show up,” he explained.
While he’s still collecting accolades from his 2015 chart-topper Beauty Behind the Madness, The Weeknd has his sights on the follow-up.
“I’ve already started,” he said of his upcoming project. “What am I supposed to do? I’m a studio rat. All I do is make music. I’m thinking about music right now. How do I reinvent myself, of course. I’m not cutting my hair though.”
In the meantime, he has turned out collaborations with the likes of Future (“Low Life”), Travis Scott (“Wonderful”), and Kanye West (“FML“), all while gearing up to headline Hangout Fest in May.