The Weeknd Says He Changed Pop Music / Suggests Usher Took His Sound

Published: Wednesday 8th Apr 2020 by Sam

The Weeknd tends to be a man of few words, letting his music do the talking – which it does in earnest, especially on the charts.

His latest release ‘After Hours’ arrived during the global health crisis, yet went on to deliver career-best first week sales. And, as at writing, remains #1 on the Billboard 200.

Still, he’s not resting on his laurels. Instead, he’s stepped into the promotional spotlight a-front of Variety Magazine – which we shared with you earlier.

Beyond the snazzy snaps, however, lay an interest quote from the singer about his impact on the musical landscape – as well as his (perceived) impact on his more seasoned contemporaries. Namely Usher. 

Full story below…

Via Variety:

The Weeknd’s sound didn’t remain unique for long. Within months, moody alt-R&B was everywhere. “‘House of Balloons’ literally changed the sound of pop music before my eyes,” he says without exaggeration. “I heard ‘Climax,’ that [2012] Usher song, and was like, ‘Holy f—, that’s a Weeknd song.’ It was very flattering, and I knew I was doing something right, but I also got angry. But the older I got, I realized it’s a good thing.”(Usher declined to comment for this story.)


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  1. Pat April 8, 2020

    Ion c it

  2. Clarks0o0ñ April 8, 2020

    Queen abel getting brave

    Now he mentioned it, climax does sound like a the weeknd song.
    Dark, atmospheric, hunting, horror movie , dangerous, sèxy vampire sound.

    Even let me see sounds a the weeknd song
    It has that dark, horror movie sound.

    Usher this is bad.
    Ur supposed to be showing the young boys how it’s done, not copying from them.

    • Swirly April 8, 2020

      If you think of it, Usher never had a “sound” of his own. He’s a pop R&B artist who depended on current trends. He always worked with the “IN” producers of the moment (BM C**, JD, Lil Jon, Rico Luv, Guetta).

      • XYZ April 8, 2020

        @Swirly, actually, you’re correct about this. While I have thought that he is just chasing trends since 2009, he actually has been a follower since his beginning. And I think that’s why he isn’t that successful anymore, because he never has been a real artist on his own with a unique sound. His first albums are classics though and he is one of the most talented out there.

      • Swirly April 8, 2020

        I’m not taking anything away from Usher either. It is what it is. Vocally and performance-wise, he remains elite. Not many can touch him. He still makes great music although he never curated a signature sound of his own.

    • Tino April 8, 2020

      If Usher was trend chasing with Climax then why was he the first R&B artist to mix R&B and soul with euro electric pop?? Which is why Time and Rolling Stone both named Climax the best song of 2012. Meanwhile the weekend couldn’t dream of having the vocal ability and range to sing that song like Usher.

      • XYZ April 9, 2020

        No one said Weeknd had a better voice than Usher. No one. And no one said that Climax is a bad song. It still sounds like a Weeknd-typish song though.

        You can have a good song and still be a trend chaser. Not every good song needs to be innovative.

  3. Tyty April 8, 2020

    Is the weekend high on the coco ??? I mean okay….. I’ll let him off cause his talented but let’s hope this is the first and last time he says such a thing.

  4. Kevon April 8, 2020

    The weekend is right to say so ..but never worry weeknd no one can sing and execute your sounds like you do

    • Tino April 8, 2020

      You smoking crack kid, the weekend stole his entire sound from The Dream. Meanwhile the weekend couldn’t dream of having the vocal ability Usher does.

      • motivation April 9, 2020


  5. eric April 8, 2020

    I don’t credit this man for changing anything except my opinion of how many people have poor musical taste. I do, however, recall feeling like Usher was jumping on a trend with “Climax”. Usher’s most unique song in the last 5 or 6 years I think is “Missin’ You”, and I’ll take “Don’t Waste My Time” over The Weeknd’s entire catalog any day.

    • Tino April 8, 2020

      Jumping on a trend when Usher was the first singer to incorporate R&B and soul with euro electric pop. Which is why Time and Rolling Stone both named Climax the best song of 2012.

  6. J April 8, 2020

    Very bold

  7. Only Facts April 8, 2020

    Abel is throwing shots! That mustache helped his balls drop

    • Fancy BISH April 8, 2020

      lol ?

  8. Fancy BISH April 8, 2020

    Not one lie ? I’m glad he talked about this! Abel changed the game! Usher is great and impactful too! Nothing but love for both these highly talented brothas lol ??

    • Tino April 8, 2020

      Changed the game when he basically stole The Dream style?? Meanwhile the weekend couldn’t dream of having the vocal ability and range Usher flawlessly displayed on Climax.

    • PinotNoir April 11, 2020

      Changed the game by dressing in MJ Thriller drag on his current video? Pshhh

  9. Haterz Gon‘ Hate April 8, 2020

    We know Ush was a trend chaser – but his vocal execution in Climax was 100% on point and his vocal is in a different ballpark to Abel’s. I prefer Abel’s SOUND to his VOICE.

  10. JBone April 8, 2020

    The Weeknd couldn’t have made ‘Climax’ sound better. Never mind the range, he just doesn’t have the soul. Thank you for the so-called influence though, Weeknd. Usher, Usher, Usher, Usher.

    • FAF April 8, 2020

      The weekend makes coke w**** music

  11. Ropeburn April 8, 2020

    Boy bye! Male RnB artists have been using “moody” falsettos from the jump. Was Able in a coma for the whole Confessions album? This success has gone to his nappy head!

    • ? April 8, 2020

      Omg I said the SAME thing! I remember when I heard Climax back when it dropped and saying how Usher was taking us back to the Confessions days that everyone was asking for. NOTHING about this song gave me signs of The Weeknd.

      • King Usher ? April 8, 2020

        Thank you!!!

  12. 2bad2bme April 8, 2020

    See what happens when people over hype mediocrity? They start to feel like they the sh*t when in actuality they are plain asf.

    • motivation April 8, 2020

      Lol, Able You living fancy now? We been known that The producer “The Dream” created this sound pre-2009. Check love vs Money tracks 5 – 12. When you went to your producers in 2010 asking for the same dark aesthetic paving the way for usher, did you forget?

      • Bam April 8, 2020

        Hell Usher did this sound in 2008 with Moving Mountains. That’s two years before Weeknd was even a speck in the music industry.

    • King Usher ? April 8, 2020

      Word ??

  13. Sean April 8, 2020

    Weak-end girl ….shut the f*** up

  14. room319 April 8, 2020

    The Weak End lasts for 2 days. Saturday and Sunday. That’s all.

    • Fancy BISH April 8, 2020

      Chile bye, the weekend is the best part of the week! And it includes Friday night! ????

  15. #TheTruth April 8, 2020

    WTF ? So the guy owns a certain type of vibe/sound ? He’s delusional.

    • Bam April 8, 2020

      Artist have always had a particular sound that’s not the issue the issue is that what Weeknd is saying isn’t true. Climax damn near directly goes great with Ushers 2008 song “Moving Mountains” which was around before Weeknd was even a thing. He needs to fall back.

  16. King Usher ? April 8, 2020

    That m*********** better stfu
    Usher paved the way, period.
    And he sounds 10000x better than TW

  17. Tino April 8, 2020

    SMMFH at all these fools talking about Usher was trend chasing with Climax when Usher was the first singer to incorporate R&B and soul with euro electric pop. Which is why Time and Rolling Stone both named Climax the best song of 2012. Meanwhile the weekend couldn’t dream of having the vocal ability and range Usher flawlessly displayed on Climax.

  18. fufu April 8, 2020

    He did influence pop R&B and yall know it. Y’all just love being messy b****** and bottoms. Give the guy his props. As far as Climax being inspired by him is subject to debate, whether Usher jacked his musical style, idk. But he came with a sound that was totally his own. He mixed together Michael Jackson, Prince and packaged it in a contemporary fashion that sells. He did something that Usher could never, even though Usher may be the better vocalist.

    • Tino April 9, 2020

      Usher was the was the first R&B artist to blend R&B and Soul with Euro Electric Pop. Which is why Time and Rolling Stone both named Climax the best song of 2012 when nobody even knew who tf the weekend was.

  19. J April 8, 2020

    Truth be told: The Weeknd sounded like a moody, off-key lite rip off of MJ when he first came out. It really hurt me to listen to him. He’s come a long way, but he shouldn’t s*** on older artists when he borrowed his whole vocal arrangement from one of the greatest himself…just saying ??‍♂️

  20. S.U.P.E.R.S.T.A.R.!. April 8, 2020

    The Weeknd stole Maxwell’s look! As far as Usher’s sound and his on this record, they are nothing alike.

  21. Paolo April 10, 2020

    ….and I had tons of respect for him-before this!

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