The Weeknd's Decade of Dominance - The JUNO Awards

Believe it or not, 2023 marks a decade since The Weeknd received his first-ever JUNO Award for Breakthrough Artist of the Year. In that short amount of time, the Starboy has evolved from an up-and-coming underground R&B singer to one of the most successful and innovative artists of the 21st century. Nominated this year for six JUNO awards, here’s a look at some of The Weeknd’s most significant achievements over the past 10 years.

1. In 2023, The Weeknd’s song “Earned It” from the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song and his first Grammy award win for Best R&B Performance.

2. The Weeknd became the first artist to simultaneously hold the top three spots on the Billboard Hot R&B Songs chart with tracks “Earned It,” “The Hills,” and “Can’t Feel My Face.”

Single of the Year winner The Weeknd. The 2016 JUNO Awards. Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, AB. April 3, 2016. Photo: CARAS/iPhoto

3. The Weeknd was featured in TIME Magazine‘s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2021. His tribute, penned by the legendary Elton John reads, “He has so many different types of music tucked up his sleeve that he incorporates into his vision. He’s not interested in commerciality for commerciality’s sake, but he’s on the biggest-streaming artists on Spotify. Like Prince, he marches to his own beat. That’s an exemplary way for an artist to be.”

4. The Weeknd’s much anticipated fourth studio album, After Hours, was released in 2020 and received a record-breaking 1.02 million pre-adds globally on Apple Music. The album which featured the hit singles “Heartless”, “Blinding Lights,” and “Save Your Tears” was hailed by critics, many of whom described the singer’s reinvention as his best work yet. 

5. Dominating the airwaves, “Blinding Lights” was crowned the greatest ‘Billboard Hot 100 song of all time’ in 2021. It became the first-ever song to spend an entire year in the Hot 100’s top 10 spots, holding the position for a total of 88 consecutive weeks.

6. A truly career-defining year for The Weeknd, in 2021 the star became the first Canadian artist to headline a solo Superbowl halftime show, joining Shania Twain and Dan Akroyd as one of only three Canadians to ever perform at the world’s most-watched event. The thrilling and visually stunning performance received widespread praise from fans, critics, and fellow artists alike.

7. Earlier in 2023, “Blinding Lights” became the most streamed song on Spotify surpassing Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” which has held the record for the past five years. Both tracks are the only two songs to have ever reached 3 billion streams on the streaming platform. 

To say The Weeknd has an impact on popular music would be a massive understatement. With multiple award-winning albums and record-smashing hits, The Weeknd’s introspective lyrics, enigmatic characters, and ever-evolving sound have solidified his status as one of the greatest artists – not only of the past decade – but all time.

Feature image: 2016 JUNO Awards. Behind the scenes. Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, AB. April 3, 2016. Photo credit: CARAS / iPhoto