AbÄ™l Makkonen Tesfaye, known professionally by his stage name The Weeknd (pronounced "the weekend"), is a Canadian singer, songwriter and record producer. Tesfaye says he adopted the stage name The Weeknd after dropping out of high school at the age of 17 and, along with a fellow crew-member, "left one weekend and never came home". The spelling was modified to avoid trademark issues with a Canadian band already named The Weekend. The Weeknd cites R. Kelly, Michael Jackson and Prince as his main inspirations. He often says it was Jackson's music that made him want to be a singer, and the lyrics to "Dirty Diana". His peculiar hairstyleâ€”which is partly inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiatâ€”is by far his most recognizable trait. Apart from his high-flying vocal style, Tesfaye can also play keyboard.