The Weeknd was born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye on February 16, 1990, in Toronto, the son of Ethiopian immigrants, according to a 2018 profile in TIME. He was raised by his mother and grandmother and quit school at the age of 17, which he says isn’t something that should “inspire people,” but it’s just a fact of his life.
He also told The Guardian in 2016 that his mom was “a great mom, very protective, very cultured” and she basically raised him “by herself. She was working three, four jobs. Single-mother jobs. The way you see in the movies.”
The Weeknd has certainly come a long way since those early days in Toronto. Ahead of his Super Bowl performance, here’s what you need to know about his net worth and how he made his money.
1. The Weeknd Is Worth $100 Million
According to Celebrity Net Worth, The Weeknd is worth approximately $100 million. The site reports that between June 2017 and June 2018, The Weeknd earned $90 million, and the following year he earned $40 million.
According to an interview with Billboard, The Weeknd used $7 million of his own money to turn the Super Bowl LV halftime show into the perfect vision of what he wanted.
“We’ve been really focusing on dialing in on the fans at home and making performances a cinematic experience, and we want to do that with the Super Bowl,” said the artist.
The Weeknd’s record company co-founder Amir “Cash” Esmailian added, “We always had the Super Bowl on our bucket list, and we’ve always had timelines for all of our goals. It came a few years earlier than we expected.”
2. Album Sales and Record Label
The Weeknd has sold over 75 million records worldwide and has won over 100 awards, including five American Music Awards, nine Billboard Music Awards, three Grammy Awards, two MTV Video Music Awards, and was nominated for an Academy Award in 2016 for Best Original Song for “Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey.
In addition to selling all of those albums, The Weeknd is one of four co-founders of XO Records alongside Esmailian, La Mar Taylor, and Wassim “Sal” Slaiby. Some of XO Records’ other artists include Belly, Nav, and Black Atlass.
Slaiby is also The Weeknd’s manager and the founder/CEO of his own management company called SALXCO, whose other artists include Doja Cat, Bebe Rexha, Ty Dolla $ign, M.I.A., and French Montana. In an interview with Billboard, Slaiby referred to the group as the United Nations because he is Lebanese, Esmailian is Persian, Taylor is Jamaican, The Weeknd is Ethiopian, M.I.A. is Sri Lankan, Nav is Indian, and Belly is Palestinian.
The Weeknd attributes a lot of his success from having met the men he co-founded the recording company with, telling Billboard, ““I know deep down in my heart that everyone would have been successful in their own realm if we’d never met. But us together — [what we’ve created] wouldn’t have happened without every single one of us in this room. All of the decisions I make, I don’t make without these three people here.”
3. Endorsements and Products
In addition to selling his own XO Records merchandise, The Weeknd has collaborated with Puma, Alexander Wang, Bathing Ape, Marvel, H&M, condom company ONE, and Apple Music.
The XO line of apparel includes T-shirts, hoodies, socks, jackets, and hats. With Puma, The Weeknd has collaborated with them on a PUMA x XO collection that is inspired by 1990s streetwear, according to High Snobiety.
The partnership with Marvel included a comic book about his alter ego Starboy. The official website describes the comic thusly: “The city of Alphatron is in the grip of a crime wave, as the terrifying Jack ‘The Chef’ Smiley has unified all criminal organizations with his ruthlessness and strategic genius. … The city is in dire need of a hero. It will not get one, but it will get what it deserves: Starboy!”
4. Real Estate
According to the Los Angeles Times, in 2019, The Weeknd bought a penthouse in the Westwood area of Los Angeles for $21 million. The condo takes up the entire 18th floor of the Beverly West tower and is approximately 8200 square feet.
The condo space is called the “Mogul” and features a chef’s kitchen, hardwood oak floors, floor-to-ceiling windows that offer nearly 360-degree views, and direct elevator access.
“This penthouse was designed for a mogul, and it’s a mogul who is buying it,” said building project manager Eric Jencks, adding, “The Beverly West has no common areas besides the amenities floor. Every owner goes up on their short elevator ride to their own airspace.”
In 2020, The Weeknd listed his three-acre Hidden Hills, California, property for sale for just under $25 million, according to the Los Angeles Times. That nine-bedroom property features a swimming pool, basketball court, barn, and a detached guest house. As of December 2020, the property still had not sold and Dirt reported that the singer lowered the asking price to just under $22 million; he purchased the property in 2017 for $18 million.
5. Entrepreneurial Initiative
It isn’t all about making money for The Weeknd, however. In 2020, he partnered with TD Bank Group to found a “leadership and entrepreneurial development initiative” called Black Hxouse, according to Variety. The initiative’s goal is to help BIPOC (Black, indigenous, people of color) citizens with ” mentorship, tools, learning and networking opportunities.”
“TD has a long-standing commitment to supporting both innovation and diversity and we are excited to collaborate with Black Hxouse as part of our continued investment in our customers, colleagues and communities. We want to help build an economy where everyone can advance their careers and thrive professionally and in their personal lives. With Black Hxouse, we will explore opportunities to elevate and empower people to succeed and grow and focus on building an even more inclusive bank and society,” said Claudette McGowan, Global Executive Officer, Cybersecurity, TD.
The Weeknd also raised over $2 million in 2020 for Black Lives Matter, TikTok’s Equal Justice Initiative, coronavirus relief efforts and more.
Super Bowl 55 airs from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on CBS, immediately followed by the series premiere of The Equalizer starring Queen Latifah and Chris Noth.