“I use a sucker punch as an analogy. Because it just kind of hit me out of nowhere,” the upcoming Super Bowl halftime performer, 30, said in a new interview for his Billboard cover story, published on Thursday, January 28. “I definitely felt … I felt things. I don’t know if it was sadness or anger. I think it was just confusion. I just wanted answers. Like, ‘What happened?’ We did everything right, I think.”
The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye) brushed off any naysayers who may call him “cocky” or “arrogant” for thinking he deserved a nod at the 2021 ceremony, explaining to the magazine, “People told me I was going to get nominated. The world told me. Like, ‘This is it; this is your year.’ We were all very confused.”
Almost immediately after the Recording Academy announced its nominations for this year’s Grammy Awards in November 2020, countless fans took to social media to question why The Weeknd was not recognized. Music artists such as Drake, Elton John and Halsey also joined the chorus of outcries.
The “Blinding Lights” singer also spoke out at the time, tweeting, “The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency.”
The Weeknd called the headline-making snub “an attack” during his Billboard interview. His manager, Wassim “Sal” Slaiby, meanwhile, revealed that they had called “a 911 staff meeting [to] figure out what the f–k” could have gone wrong considering they submitted the Toronto native’s music for consideration in six categories, including Album of the Year.
“Look, I personally don’t care anymore,” The Weeknd told the publication. “I have three Grammys, which mean nothing to me now, obviously. It’s not like, ‘Oh, I want the Grammy!’ It’s just that this happened, and I’m down to get in front of the fire, as long as it never happens again. I suck at giving speeches anyways. Forget awards shows.”
The hitmaker also pointed out a bigger issue at hand: “In the last 61 years of the Grammys, only 10 Black artists have won Album of the Year. I don’t want to make this about me. That’s just a fact.”
Recording Academy chair and interim president/CEO Harvey Mason Jr. previously responded to The Weeknd’s disappointment, saying in a statement to Rolling Stone, “I was surprised and can empathize with what he’s feeling. His music this year was excellent, and his contributions to the music community and broader world are worthy of everyone’s admiration.”
Us Weekly has reached out to the Recording Academy for additional comment.