The Weeknd remembers seeing Avatar for the primary time in 2009 — he was 19 and feeling blue. Watching the movie was like a ray of sunshine.
“That was in all probability the darkest time of my life,” the Canadian singer tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I used to be homeless, just about. I had dropped out of college. I didn’t know if I used to be going to succeed as a musician. I didn’t know if I used to be going to have the ability to stay to see tomorrow. And I bear in mind I someway bought to see the movie in theaters. I don’t understand how I bought in. It was such an escape from my actual life that the movie is tattooed in my mind.”
Two years after Avatar‘s launch, The Weeknd marked a serious breakthrough together with his critically acclaimed various R&B mixtape, House of Balloons. That was adopted by a major-label deal, numerous No. 1 hits on the pop charts, streaming milestones, awards galore, roaring excursions and extra.
So, it’s no shock that he was on the prime of James Cameron’s record when the filmmaker needed a theme music for the follow-up to his epic science fiction movie. The Weeknd, with the assistance of composer Simon Franglen and digital home trio Swedish Home Mafia, crafted “Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)” for Avatar: The Way of Water. It has been shortlisted for finest unique music on the 2023 Academy Awards.
“They informed me they’d one identify on the record to do the music and it was me,” The Weeknd says. “It feels kismet and it’s a full-circle second for me to be part of one thing like this, as a result of it’s such an necessary movie for me.”
13 years after Avatar, you will have now created the theme for this big sequel. How does it really feel?
It’s a present. It’s a blessing. Jim [James Cameron] and [producer] Jon [Landau] and Simon [Franglen] — they actually made me really feel like I used to be the one one that might do that music. And it was an indication. Once they reached out, I used to be on tour. I noticed the movie in July. Jon and I have been in New York on the identical time, and he invited me to a personal screening the place he introduced me to the entire universe for Avatar and for the subsequent few movies, and I used to be blown away. And by the way in which, the presentation was impeccable. I couldn’t imagine what I used to be . And when he confirmed me The Method of Water, I couldn’t imagine what I used to be watching. James Cameron is really somebody we want proper now to present us the final word cinematic expertise. By the tip of the movie, I used to be so impressed that the music was just about writing itself.
Inform me extra about creating “Nothing Is Misplaced.”
I used to be honored, however I used to be nervous. It’s such an enormous alternative and the movie is so large that naturally I used to be nervous. I knew I used to be going to be working with some particular collaborators as a result of I used to be going to be working with individuals who had imaginative and prescient and knew precisely what they needed. And people are the sorts of artists I all the time need to work with. As a result of it doesn’t matter what, they received’t cease and we received’t cease till the music is totally excellent. And that’s what ended up taking place. And now now we have this music. It’s a labor of affection.
What was it like working so intently with James Cameron?
Working with somebody like James Cameron, who has such a singular imaginative and prescient, I can deliver as a lot as I can from what I like about music, however I’ve to hit particular themes of the movie. He’s a genius, and I simply felt honored that I bought to collaborate with him. The perfect half about writing the music was getting notes from James and ensuring that each one the lyrics and the tones match the themes of the movie. I feel I rewrote the music perhaps six instances to ensure it was excellent.
Was making this new music totally different in comparison with your artistic course of behind “Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Gray, which was Oscar-nominated?
Oh yeah, completely. The music within the movie for Fifty Shades of Gray is simply so attractive and sexual. Engaged on this music was enjoyable as effectively, however that felt a little bit bit extra enjoyable and unfastened, whereas this one felt a little bit bit extra scientific. I couldn’t veer away from what [Cameron wanted]. As a result of the music is so linked with the movie, I needed to make it possible for it didn’t really feel like we simply plopped in a pop music on the finish of the credit. I couldn’t be as imprecise as “Earned It.”
“Nothing Is Misplaced” simply got here out, and it’s been shortlisted for the Oscars. How does it really feel?
I really feel honored to be a part of that record. Any sort of recognition for it seems like a blessing.
What wouldn’t it imply to be Oscar-nominated once more for this music?
It’d be nice. However I’m simply pleased that I bought to be a part of such a historic movie.
How do you’re feeling about awards exhibits generally? Do the Oscars really feel totally different in comparison with the Grammys?
Yeah, they positively really feel totally different for positive.
You didn’t submit your personal music for the 2022 Grammys, however you received an award to your work on Kanye West’s “Hurricane.” Do you will have any ideas on profitable with out actually coming into into the competitors?
Once more, I’m simply grateful. Any sort of recognition, I’m grateful for it. I’m simply pleased to be within the dialog.
What did you be taught from working with Simon Franglen?
He was doing the rating for the movie and I truly realized quite a bit as a result of I’m scoring proper now for my very own present (The Idol on HBO). I bought to be taught quite a bit from him and it was thrilling to work with him.
There’s a whole lot of anticipation for this new present. Is there something about it you may inform us?
Not but. Quickly sufficient, although.
Has it been superior to flex one other artistic facet of your self by TV manufacturing and appearing?
Completely. It’s only a new muscle that I didn’t know that I had that I need to positively work out. It’s been enjoyable.
Have you ever been engaged on music?
I’ve positively been impressed. I’ve been within the studio.
Interview edited for size and readability.
A model of this story first appeared in a Jan. stand-alone challenge of The Hollywood Reporter journal. To obtain the journal, click here to subscribe.