'A sucker punch': The Weeknd says Grammy Awards 'mean nothing to me now' after shocking snub
The "Blinding Lights" singer, 30, opened up to Billboard Thursday about his indifference to the once-esteemed awards show after failing to pick up a single Grammy nod for his critically acclaimed "After Hours" album, which includes top-100 hits "Blinding Lights" and "Heartless."
"I personally don’t care anymore," said the Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye. "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."
In 2016, Tesfaye took home a Grammy for Best R&B performance for "Earned It" and Best Urban Contemporary Album for "Beauty Behind The Madness." In 2017, he picked up another trophy for Best Urban Contemporary Album for "Starboy."
Grammy snubs 2021: The Weeknd calls out his nomination shutout, demands 'industry transparency'
"The Grammys remain corrupt," Tesfaye tweeted on Nov. 24. "You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency." (The tweet garnered 1.1 million likes.)
On Thursday, Tesfaye likened this past Grammy nominations morning in late November to a "sucker punch" and an "attack."
"It just kind of hit me out of nowhere," Tesfaye said. "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."
He continued: "Like, ‘What happened?’ We did everything right, I think. I’m not a cocky person. I’m not arrogant. 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."
But Tesfaye's feelings have since subsided. He quipped, "I suck at giving speeches anyways… Forget awards shows."
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Harvey Mason Jr., interim president of the Recording Academy, the group that oversees the Grammys, said in a statement obtained by USA TODAY that he, too, was surprised by the Weeknd's shutout. But he denied any wrongdoing by the organization or the process in the "unusual and competitive year," which saw a record number of submissions.
"Unfortunately, every year, there are fewer nominations than the number of deserving artists," said Mason in the statement.
Tesfaye didn't have too much time to mope over the nominations oversight because he's set to headline the Super Bowl halftime show next week.
"We’ve been really focusing on dialing in on the fans at home and making performances a cinematic experience, and we want to do that with the Super Bowl," said Tesfaye.
Contributing: Bryan Alexander