Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, known professionally as the Weeknd, is a Canadian singer-songwriter and record producer. Known for his sonic versatility and dark lyricism, his music explores escapism, romance, and melancholia, and is often inspired by personal experiences. He has received numerous accolades, including four Grammy Awards, 19 Billboard Music Awards, 15 Juno Awards, six American Music Awards, two MTV Video Music Awards, and an Academy Award nomination. Born and raised in Toronto, Tesfaye began his music career in 2009 by anonymously releasing music on YouTube. Two years later, he co-founded the XO record label and released the mixtapes House of Balloons, Thursday and Echoes of Silence, which quickly gained recognition for his style of contemporary and alternative R&B and the mystique surrounding his identity. In 2012, he signed with Republic Records and rereleased the mixtapes in the compilation album Trilogy.