Ever since The Weeknd debuted his After Hours persona in conjunction with the release of his fourth studio album last year, many people have been asking, “What’s going on with The Weeknd’s face?” As part of his new character, the 30-year-old singer has been sporting a face covered in bandages and bruises, but don’t worry, it’s all part of a story.
In a previous interview with Carine Roitfeld’s CR Men, The Weeknd explained that he wanted to reveal a different side of himself with this new character. “I feel confident with where I’m taking this [new] record,” he said. “There’s also a very committed vision and character being portrayed and I get to explore a different side of me that my fans have never seen.” Referring to “Heartless,” which was the first single off his After Hours album, The Weeknd said, “It felt fitting for me to put it out. I play a character in the video who becomes compromised and then overcompensates with all the sins that Vegas provides. It’s a great introduction to the next chapter of my life.”
“I don’t want to ever promote drunk driving, but that’s what the dark undertone is.”
In a separate interview with Esquire, The Weeknd further explained that the point of the bloody makeup and bandages is to raise awareness about drunk driving. He revealed that the concept behind the video for “Blinding Lights” is about “how you want to see someone at night, and you’re intoxicated, and you’re driving to this person and you’re just blinded by streetlights, but nothing could stop you from trying to go see that person, because you’re so lonely.” He added, “I don’t want to ever promote drunk driving, but that’s what the dark undertone is.”
Recently, The Weeknd dropped the video for “Save Your Tears,” in which he finally revealed what he’s been hiding under those bandages, and, um, it wasn’t what we expected — like, at all. Thanks to some really good prosthetics, The Weeknd looks like he got some major plastic surgery, which we thought seemed like a nod to his song “Escape From LA.” On the track, The Weeknd sings about how all “LA girls look the same” because they all get “the same work done” on their face. And it appears we were right. While speaking with Variety, The Weeknd discussed his After Hours persona, saying, “It’s all a progression and we watch The Character’s storyline hit heightened levels of danger and absurdity as his tale goes on.” He also explained the significance of his transformation, saying, “The significance of the entire head bandages is reflecting on the absurd culture of Hollywood celebrity and people manipulating themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated.”
Well, it certainly has been a journey. Ahead, see how The Weeknd’s After Hours persona has evolved since he first released “Heartless.”