Fresh off headlining Coachella, The Weeknd graces the cover of TIME’s Next Generation Leaders cover—sharing the light with Ariana Grande and Adwoa Aboah.
For the cover story, by Kara Brown, the Canadian crooner touches on fame, love and his new My Dear Melancholy EP.
Making use of his first interview since 2016, The Weeknd decided to drop a bombshell, revealing he scrapped an entire album before releasing Melancholy to the masses.
“Prior to Melancholy, I had a whole album written, done,” he says. “Which wasn’t melancholy at all because it was a different time in my life. It was very upbeat—it was beautiful.” But considering his personal life fell into a different space after recording, he says we’ll “never” hear it. “I don’t want to perform something that I don’t feel.”
Check out the cover(s) below and peep the cover story on TIME’s website.
Abel Tesfaye, 28, better known to the public as @theweeknd, has made a career out of hiding in plain sight. When he began releasing #music in 2010, he kept his persona intentionally vague, building buzz primarily via the Internet; fans grew to love him without knowing if he was a band or a solo singer. Now Tesfaye is a budding superstar, with a string of No. 1 hits (“The Hills,” “Can’t Feel My Face,” “Starboy”) and a new album, My Dear Melancholy, that tallied more than 25 million streams on @Spotify and @applemusic, respectively, during its first 24 hours of release—among the best digital debuts of all time. #TheWeeknd is one of three International covers showcasing the Next Generation Leaders. Read more about the rising activists, artists and athletes who are reshaping music, sports, fashion, politics and more on TIME.com. Photograph by @micaiahcarter for TIME
@arianagrande is happy, and it’s important to her that people know that. At 24, Grande is one of the biggest pop stars in the world, and she’s coming out with new music two years after her last album, the blockbuster Dangerous Woman. Her latest single is called “No Tears Left to Cry,” a triumphant, ’90s-house-inflected pop confection, part breathy vocals and part spunky, spoken-word playfulness. She chose it carefully: “The intro is slow, and then it picks up,” she says. “And it’s about picking things up.” Grande made a song about resilience because she has had to be resilient, in ways that are difficult to imagine, after a terrorist detonated a bomb outside her May 22, 2017, concert in Manchester, England, killing 22 people and leaving more than 500 injured. What happened is part of the song, but the song is not about what happened. Instead of being elegiac, it’s joyful and lush, and Grande is proud of it, and of herself. “When I started to take care of myself more, then came balance, and freedom, and joy,” she says. “It poured out into the music.” In the video for the song, she’s upside-down, the way life used to feel. “We’ve messed with the idea of not being able to find the ground again,” she says, “because I feel like I’m finally landing back on my feet now.” #ArianaGrande is one of three International covers showcasing the Next Generation Leaders. Read more about the rising activists, artists and athletes who are reshaping music, sports, fashion, politics and more on TIME.com. Photograph by @jimmymarble for TIME
With her shaved head, freckles and jeweled tooth, @adwoaaboah doesn’t look like most of the supermodels who came before her. And yet since her November debut on the cover of @britishvogue—the first issue under the publication’s first black editor, @edward_enninful—Aboah, 25, has assembled a list of accomplishments that places her firmly in their ranks. She has fronted campaigns for major brands, such as #Chanel, #Burberry and #Revlon. She has won awards, including the British Fashion Council’s highly coveted Model of the Year (a designation previously given to Kate Moss, among others). And in May, she appeared at the #MetGala alongside icons like @donatella_versace and @cindycrawford. Growing up in London, Aboah, whose father is Ghanaian, says she thought the fashion industry “had no room” for girls like her. Now she’s redefining what’s in vogue. “I put so many limitations on myself,” she says. “Now I set absolutely no boundaries.” #AdwoaAboah is one of three International covers showcasing the Next Generation Leaders. Read more about the rising activists, artists and athletes who are reshaping music, sports, fashion, politics and more on TIME.com. Photograph by Agnes Lloyd-platt (@agnesvita) for TIME