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The Weeknd Says Writing Music After His Split From Selena Gomez Was ‘Cathartic’

After his split from Selena Gomez, The Weeknd turned life into art when he wrote, recorded and released his 2018 EP, My Dear Melancholy, in under three weeks. The surprise project was only six songs, but fans were quick to pick up on its many references to Gomez.

Related: Selena Gomez and The Weeknd: The Way They Were

“The reason why it was so short is, like, I think I just had nothing else to say on this,” the “Blinding Lights” singer, 30, told Esquire for his September 2020 cover story, published on Tuesday, August 25. “It was just, like, this cathartic piece of art. And yeah, it was short, because that’s all I had to say on this situation.”

The Weeknd Says Writing Music After His Split From Selena Gomez Was Cathartic
Selena Gomez and The Weeknd attend the Met Gala in New York City on May 1, 2017. Matt Baron/Shutterstock

The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye) told the magazine that creating the EP made him feel better, joking, “That would have sucked if I didn’t.” However, he offered a “no comment” when asked whether the songs were about anyone in particular.

Related: Selena Gomez’s Dating History

The Grammy winner and the “Dance Again” songstress, 28, started dating in January 2017 and made their red carpet debut as a couple at the Met Gala four months later. That November, Us Weekly confirmed that the pair had called it quits.

The Weeknd Says Writing Music After His Split From Selena Gomez Was Cathartic in Esquire
The Weeknd in Esquire Jerald Johnson

The Weeknd dropped My Dear Melancholy in March 2018 to hold fans over between the releases of 2016’s Starboy and this year’s After Hours. Shortly before the EP hit streaming services, a source exclusively told Us, “He’s been in the studio pretty much nonstop, especially the past few months after his breakup with Selena Gomez. The project is done now. It’s less poppy than his last one. It sounds more like old Abel. OG fans will love it.”

Related: Song Lyrics Inspired by Celebrity Breakups

Fans speculated that tracks like “Call Out My Name” and “Hurt You” were about Gomez; the latter included the lyric, “When you’re with him, you close your eyes and think of me,” an apparent reference to Justin Bieber, whom the actress started dating again days after splitting from The Weeknd. (Gomez and Bieber’s relationship ended for good in March 2018, and he married Hailey Baldwin that September.)

The Weeknd previously called My Dear Melancholy “therapeutic,” telling Time magazine in May 2018 that he “had a whole album written, done” and scrapped it to make the EP after his breakup with Gomez.

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