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“You will continue to get what you fell in love with, and I will continue to give you what you ask for,” said Abel Tesfaye, the rising R&B singer and producer better known as The Weeknd, in an open letter to his fans Friday. Despite signing a major label deal with Universal Republic, the Toronto native assured he would not forget those who have shown patience and devotion, having waited more than a year for his new release, Trilogy (due out November 13).
“To my fans,” he started the note. “I want to thank you for listening and being patient for as long as you have. No matter what an artist’s ego clouds them to believe, you are the reason why I have been able to continue to do what I love to do and that is to entertain you.”
Trilogy will feature tracks off The Weeknd’s three mixtapes he released in 2011 on his own XO label for free, as well as new and original tracks. On Friday Tesfaye also released a self-directed, Chris Cunningham-produced video clip for one of those new songs, “Rolling Stone,” which is also the first of the artist’s videos in which he is featured.
The “Rolling Stone” video is shot in black and white and prominently focuses on his face throughout, as an anonymous woman leans on his shoulders with her arms draped around him. As the song progresses, the camera takes shots moving close and far from Tesfaye as the woman loses some articles of clothing, strobe flashes go off and she eventually disappears, leaving just Tesfaye singing and staring into the camera.
In his letter, Tesfaye explained the video’s symbolism, saying, “Because I am a man of few words, I chose to make a viral video to show you how I felt and where I stand. I usually don’t like to ‘spoon feed’ my audience because I grew up idolizing story tellers who tell stories using symbolism, so it was in my nature to do the same. The ‘Rolling Stone’ video takes place in a dimly lit studio which represents the two worlds I have been stuck in. The gloomy side represents the mainstream world while the other side represents the underground. The girl holding on represents you. As the world slowly gets familiar with my face the more you will lose interest (hence the pieces of her clothing coming off at every shot). The camera lights symbolize the crossover, and when they begin to flash I look away from the underground. Even though I don’t want to, it is a step that I feel I must take to evolve as an artist.”
He continued obliquely of his record contract, “This predicament is impossible to relate to unless you are put in that unique situation. I want you to know and understand that this does not mean what you think it means, and I made sure of that in my deal.”
While the specifics are unclear, it can be assumed Tesfaye is bringing his XO crew of photographers, filmmakers, rappers, producers and managers onboard for this major-label debut and it is said Trilogy will be released with the XO stamp as well as Universal Republic’s.
“I’ll never make you wait again,” Tesfaye closed the letter. “With that being said expect more from me very soon leading up to ‘TRILOGY.’ Thank you again for your patience and loyalty, I will not disappoint.”
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