After breakout 2015, the Weeknd continues success with Oscar nod

TORONTO -- After a breakout year that saw the Weeknd score a chart-topping album, several No. 1 hits and a slew of Grammy nominations, 2015 would seem like a tough one to top for the Canadian pop sensation.

See Full Article

Then days into 2016, Oscar came calling.

The Toronto singer -- whose real name is Abel Tesfaye -- added to his growing list of accolades with an Academy Award nomination for best original song.

The Weeknd received the nod for his slinky hit "Earned It" from the "Fifty Shades of Grey" soundtrack. He shares the honour with fellow Canadian songwriters Ahmad Balshe (a.k.a. Belly), Jason (DaHeala) Quenneville and Stephan Moccio.

"I believe that 'Earned It' was hugely instrumental in launching the career of Abel on a worldwide level, and there's that to feel proud for as well," said Moccio, during a phone interview from Santa Monica, Calif.

"That song allowed him and his brand to cross barriers and to cross many cultures.... It has good, old-fashioned R&B strut. It's waltz. It has this beautiful falsetto male voice. It has beautiful classical sound at the same time. It's just a lot of great things that perhaps will keep it classic in time -- and only time will tell. But it's amazing."

"Earned It" made its debut on Dec. 23, 2014, ahead of last year's Valentine's Day premiere of "Fifty Shades of Grey." But the track clearly proved to have staying power with Oscar voters who selected the seductive, slow-tempo tune among its nominees.

"That's a testimony ... to the song, the artist, a lot of elements -- and I don't take that for granted,"

said Moccio, who co-produced and co-wrote about a third of the Weeknd's hit album "Beauty Behind The Madness."

"At one point, there were perhaps hundreds and hundreds of songs submitted (for Oscar consideration) and eventually dwindled down to some 70-odd songs. And now, to make the top five is a big deal."

This year's best song category is stacked with industry heavy-hitters.

British singer Sam Smith, who won the Golden Globe for best original song with "Writing's On the Wall," is nominated for the "Spectre" track along with collaborator Jimmy Napes. Pop diva Lady Gaga and songwriting legend Diane Warren received the nod for "Til It Happens to You" for the sexual assault documentary "The Hunting Ground."

"Manta Ray" from "Racing Extinction" and the "Simple Song .3" from "Youth" round out the list.

"Some great songwriters are in this category, and here we are standing next to all of them," said Moccio, who grew up in Niagara Falls, Ont.

"I don't know if you want to call it luck. We all worked hard. But I just feel very proud.

"It's a very sweet moment when you actually set energy and thought and intent towards something and it realizes itself.... It's hugely satisfying."



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • What’s new on Netflix Canada, CraveTV in August

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    A monthly look at what’s scheduled to be added to the catalogues of streaming services Netflix Canada and CraveTV in August: TOP PICKS The Netflix series “Marvel’s The Defenders,” which premieres Aug. 18, unites the lead characters from several past superhero shows. Source
  • 'The Emoji Movie' has a zero score on Rotten Tomatoes - critics are eviscerating the film

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    There is perhaps no single emoji to reflect just how savagely film critics are trashing "The Emoji Movie." A succession of skulls and dumpster fires would only begin to suggest the intensity of the verbal carpet-bombing. Reviews began strafing the movie Thursday like drone strikes, one day ahead of the Sony flick's big debut. Source
  • 'We feel your loss as well'; Chester Bennington's widow opens up about singer's death

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — The widow of late Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington says she’s feeling the love from the rocker’s fans but she’s also feeling the loss. Talinda Bennington said in a statement late Thursday she wants “to let my community and the fans worldwide know that we feel your love. Source
  • Vacation goals: See how your favourite celebs are spending summer

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    There’s only a couple months left until summer is over. If you haven’t already, now would be the perfect time to actually do those things on your bucket-list and cure your FOMO. If anybody knows how to induce serious vacay envy it would be your favourite celebs. Source
  • ‘Big Brother’ blindsides, Peter Kraus’ Bachelorette bombshell and more reality-TV highlights this week

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    BIG BROTHER The season’s major power couple were ripped apart on Day 23 when Cody Nickson was separated from Jessica Graf following a tense eviction. But the pair’s luck seemed to have completely changed during the start of this week on Big Brother when the construction sales representative re-entered the house following a strenuous battle back competition. Source
  • Intruder arrested after returning to Drake's mansion

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    An intruder who broke into Drake’s home in April and stole drinks has reportedly been arrested after returning to his mansion. Mesha Collins, 24, tried to enter the Hotline Bling musician’s home in Los Angeles County’s Hidden Hills neighbourhood on Thursday, according to TMZ.com editors. Source
  • Stylish rompers, fake news: Arcade Fire's album launch channels buzz words

    Entertainment CTV News
    Arcade Fire has found an unusually satirical way to launch their fifth album on social media. Leading up to the release of "Everything Now," in stores on Friday, the Quebec art-rock band has been flooding Facebook and Twitter with the kind of social commentary they usually reserve for their music. Source
  • 'How do I pick up my shattered soul?': Linkin Park singer's wife opens up about husband's death

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK - The wife of late Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington says she's feeling the love from the rocker's fans but she's also feeling the loss. Talinda Bennington said in a statement late Thursday she wants "to let my community and the fans worldwide know that we feel your love. Source
  • 'How do I pick up my shattered soul?': Linkin Park singer's widow opens up about suicide

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- The widow of late Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington says she's feeling the love from the rocker's fans but she's also feeling the loss. Talinda Bennington said in a statement late Thursday she wants "to let my community and the fans worldwide know that we feel your love. Source
  • Shania Twain shares video for 'Life's About to Get Good'

    Entertainment CTV News
    With her album "Now" due out September 29, Shania Twain has just released a video for the LP's first single, "Life's About to Get Good." Twain strolls on the beach in flowing, bright clothing in the video, while an alternate version of herself dreams of heading out on the same beach vacation. Source