The Weeknd 'one of the most gentle souls': composer Stephan Moccio

Toronto R&B star the Weeknd is one of the most enigmatic figures in music today, shying away from media interviews and working with a select group of collaborators who rarely let outsiders in.

See Full Article

But Canadian songwriter/producer/composer Stephan Moccio was able to grow close to him and his crew while they made the Grammy Award-nominated hit album "Beauty Behind The Madness."

He says the singer, born Abel Tesfaye, is driven, kind and comes "alive, if you will, in the studio."

"He's one of the most gentle souls that I know and the nicest guys that I know," says Moccio.

"He's well aware of his brand and who he is and what he does, he's very sure-footed, and that's one of my favourite things about him.

"We're twin brothers in the sense that he has a very strong vision of what he's after and what he wants to do, and when he sets forth to do it, nothing sways him. But working with him, he gives all of himself in the creative environment."

Moccio, who has a slew of hit songwriting credits and acclaimed solo work, is named in three Grammy nominations for working with the Weeknd. He's up for album of the year, best R&B song for "Earned It" from the "Fifty Shades Of Grey" soundtrack, and best song written for visual media for the same track.

The "Earned It" nominations are shared with the Weeknd as well as fellow Canadians Ahmad Balshe (a.k.a. Belly) and Jason (DaHeala) Quenneville, while the album of the year nod has a slew of co-nominees. The Weeknd has seven Grammy nominations in total.

Moccio, who grew up in Niagara Falls, Ont., says he co-produced and co-wrote about a third of "Beauty Behind The Madness." He was drawn to the edginess in the Weeknd's writing as well as his sound and beats. The Weeknd, meanwhile, was drawn to Moccio's classical music sophistication and the cinematic sound that he brings to songs.

The Los Angeles-based Moccio spent eight months working on the album and says making it "was really everything that you can dream of."

"When we started hearing the music and the songs that we were creating, we knew one thing -- we knew we were doing something honest and something great and that people are going to react to it," he says.

"So here it is, now sitting with a nomination for album of the year. Every artist would dream of having a Grammy nomination for album of the year."

Moccio says he and the Weeknd also bonded in the studio, sharing personal stories. They now hang out together with the rest of the crew at various social and professional events.

Moccio feels he now has "collaborators for life."

"They have such a family in how they deal with their affairs and they're very loyal people, Abel's team and his group of collaborators and writers," he says.

"It's an honour for me to have, I guess cracked the code, if you will, to have been accepted into that club, because they don't let a lot of people in, and rightfully so."



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Arisa Cox breaks down this week's chaotic Big Brother Canada

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Miss a week, miss a lot! Chaos reigned supreme in the Big Brother Canada house since Dallas was evicted last Thursday. On Wednesday airing at 9 p.m. airing on Global, current nominees Cassandra and Jackie and Head of Household Neda will fight for the power of veto. Source
  • Drake cancels concert after bad sushi

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    A bad case of food poisoning reportedly sent Drake to the hospital on Monday after having to cancel his concert in the Netherlands at late notice. The Jumpman hitmaker had been due to perform for fans in Amsterdam on Monday night, but the show, which had already been rescheduled twice, was abruptly called off moments before he was set to hit the stage. Source
  • Thieves steal $150K worth of antique jewelry from Emmy Rossum [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Actress Emmy Rossum has become the latest celebrity burglary victim after thieves ransacked her Los Angeles home while she was working in New York. The Mystic River star’s housekeeper discovered the break-in and two empty safes when she turned up to clean the property in West Los Angeles on Friday. Source
  • Bill Cosby's lawyers ask to exclude testimony on other women, pills

    Entertainment CBC News
    Bill Cosby's lawyers don't want jurors at his suburban Philadelphia sexual-assault trial to hear he gave women quaaludes, money or educational funds. The defense says in court papers filed Tuesday that Cosby's deposition testimony about those topics would prejudice the jury. Source
  • Rihanna's Marion Crane finally has her shower scene on 'Bates Motel'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Rihanna stunned U.S. fans of TV drama Bates Motel on Monday night by serving up a classic twist on the Psycho story. In Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 adaptation of Robert Bloch’s thriller, twisted Norman Bates kills the object of his affection, Marion Crane, in the most famous movie shower scene. Source
  • Ken Burns making documentary film on Muhammad Ali

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- The late Muhammad Ali is getting the Ken Burns treatment. The PBS documentarian announced Tuesday that he and two partners will make a two-part, four-hour film about the former heavyweight champ, who died last June. Source
  • Reality TV show 'Eden' leaves contestants in the wilderness for a year -- but no one was watching

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    A reality show no one’s watching? That’s called real life. And for the contestants of Eden – a reality show that aired, albeit briefly, on the U.K.’s Channel 4 – that’s exactly what happened. A year ago, producers dropped 23 strangers into a remote area of Scotland to build a self-sufficient community away from technology. Source
  • Rob Stewart's family files lawsuit after filmmaker’s dive death

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    MIAMI — The family of a Canadian filmmaker and conservationist who died during a shark filming excursion in the Florida Keys has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. The lawsuit filed Tuesday in the death of 37-year-old Rob Stewart blames negligence on the companies and individuals who organized the January dive. Source
  • Spider-Man’s Venom spinoff to be rated R

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Back in the Andrew Garfield Spider-Man days – remember those? – Sony had plans for villain spinoffs focusing on the Sinister Six and Venom. Now that the web crawler is back within Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (Spider-Man: Homecoming is due out this summer), we thought those dreams were scrapped. Source
  • Drake enrages Dutch fans by cancelling concert for third time

    Entertainment CTV News
    Dutch fans of Drake shouted obscenities and exhibited crude gestures aimed at the hip hop star after he cancelled a concert in Amsterdam for the third time in three months. Numerous videos uploaded to social media on Thursday evening show the large crowd inside the Zippo Dome react in anger in the moments after a woman came on stage to share the bad news. Source