The Weeknd has revealed his early songs were written while he was sky high on magic mushrooms and ketamine.
The 26-year-old, who stormed to the top of the U.S. album charts with his latest release Starboy on Sunday (04Dec16), admits he was a heavy drug user in his late teens, and many of his first songs were seven-minute psychedelic rambles.
The singer, real name Abel Tesfaye, tells The Guardian newspaper he and a pal consumed all kinds of drugs like cocaine, MDMA, mushrooms and cough syrup, while they were living together in the suburbs of Toronto, Canada.
"When I had nothing to do but make music, it was very heavy," he tells the publication. "Drugs were a crutch for me. There were songs on my first record that were seven minutes long, rambling - whatever thoughts I was having when I was under the influence at the time. I can’t see myself doing that now."
But he still uses drugs to help his creative process, adding, "I’ll be completely honest with you, the past couple of albums, I do get back to that. Even on this new album, you have writer’s block. And sometimes you’re like, 'I can’t do this sober'."
The Weeknd also reveals he was a troubled youth before his music career really took off.
"A lot of people don’t get that second chance," he says, "but around that age, you usually get one second chance after a slap on the wrist. And you either take the experience and think, ‘This is it, final straw’, or you don’t. And the next move after that? It’s your entire life. You become who you become because of the next move you make.
"The mind of a 19-year-old is very different from the mind of a 26-year-old. You grow. You get into better relationships. You experience more, meet more people, better people."