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

  • Ben Stiller and wife Christine Taylor announce separation

    Entertainment CTV News
    Actor Ben Stiller, left, and wife Christine Taylor during Stiller's Hand & Footprint Ceremony at TCL Chinese Theatre on Tuesday, December, 3, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Richard Shotwell / Invision / AP) Source
  • David Hasselhoff denied Leonardo DiCaprio 'Baywatch' role

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Leonardo DiCaprio’s parents are still sore with David Hasselhoff for refusing to cast their son as his kid on Baywatch. Hasselhoff admits he ran into DiCaprio and his folks at the Cannes Film Festival premiere for The Great Gatsby in 2013 — and they still remembered the snub. Source
  • Anthrax wants to back up Lady Gaga

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Anthrax has offered to hit the road as Lady Gaga’s backing band after watching her front Metallica at the Grammy Awards. The Poker Face singer joined Metallica for a performance of their song Moth Into Flame at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and it was enough to convince guitarist Scott Ian that she should have a heavy rock act behind her at all times. Source
  • Chris Cornell of Soundgarden laid to rest in Hollywood

    Entertainment CBC News
    Music's elite and celebrities remembered Chris Cornell at a somber memorial service Friday that focused on the Soundgarden frontman's love of family and friends as much as it did on his musical achievements as one of rock's leading voices. Source
  • 'Embracing our girl power:' Alamo cinema chain doubles down with more ladies-only Wonder Woman screenings

    Entertainment CBC News
    The Alamo Drafthouse movie chain said this week it's "embracing our girl power" with women-only screenings of Wonder Woman at least two theatres in the U.S., but the move has left some men angry at being left out. Source
  • 'Embracing our girl power:' Movie chain doubles down on ladies-only Wonder Woman screenings

    Entertainment CBC News
    The Alamo Drafthouse movie chain said this week it's "embracing our girl power" with women-only screenings of Wonder Woman at least two theatres in the U.S., but the move has left some men angry at being left out. Source
  • Pirates of the Caribbean vs. Baywatch

    Entertainment CBC News
    There's a rumble at the multiplex this weekend as the latest Pirates of the Caribbean installment looks to take on Baywatch. At first glance the fifth Pirates film may seem to have the deck stacked in its favour, but don't count out what Dwayne Johnson describes as "The Avengers of the beach. Source
  • The latest Pirates of the Caribbean vs. Baywatch

    Entertainment CBC News
    There's a rumble at the multiplex this weekend as the latest Pirates of the Caribbean installment looks to take on Baywatch. At first glance the fifth Pirates film may seem to have the deck stacked in its favour, but don't count out what Dwayne Johnson describes as "The Avengers of the beach. Source
  • Brad Pitt, Pharrell among mourners at Chris Cornell memorial

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — Brad Pitt and Pharrell joined mourners Friday at Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell’s memorial service at a storied Hollywood cemetery. Soundgarden music played from a portable speaker outside the cemetery’s gates as a group of about a dozen fans gathered outside. Source
  • Paris Jackson mistaken for homeless person on set of new movie

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Michael Jackson’s teenage daughter Paris was left stunned after she was mistaken for a homeless person on the set of her new movie. The young actress detailed the surprising mix-up in a pair of Twitter posts on Thursday after she arrived to start work on director Nash Edgerton’s as-yet-untitled film for Amazon Studios. Source