The Weeknd has given praise to the first Avatar film and said it helped pull him out of a dark time in his life when it hit theaters in 2009.
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Canadian crooner reflected on his fifth studio album Dawn FM, which celebrated its one-year anniversary earlier this month.
The Weeknd confirmed to the outlet that he has been in the studio working on new music and that his inspiration came largely from being shortlisted for the upcoming Academy Awards thanks to his song “Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)” from Avatar: The Way of Water.
“I feel honored to be part of that list,” he said. “Any kind of recognition for it feels like a blessing.”
The singer then looked back on the first Avatar film, which arrived arrived shortly after the man known as Abel Tesfaye dropped out of high school and was homeless.
“That was probably the darkest time of my life,” he said. “I was homeless, pretty much. I had dropped out of school. I didn’t know if I was going to succeed as a musician. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to live to see tomorrow.
“And I remember I somehow got to see the film in theaters. I don’t know how I got in. It was such an escape from my real life that the film is tattooed in my brain.”
He added that being to contribute to the sequel felt like a full-circle moment for him.
“They told me they had one name on the list to do the song and it was me,” The Weeknd said. “It feels kismet and it’s a full-circle moment for me to be a part of something like this, because it is such an important film for me.”
Avatar became the highest-grossing movie of all time ($2.92 billion worldwide) when it was released in 2009, and went on to receive nine Oscar nominations, winning three awards for best art direction, best cinematography, and best visual effects.
The Weeknd initially teased “Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)” in the sequel’s final trailer, with the finished product arriving on December 15 before the film hit theaters on December 16.
In other Weeknd news, the House of Balloons superstar just dropped off a new horror movie-inspired music video for “Is There Someone Else?” to celebrate Dawn FM‘s birthday.
The XO vocalist’s 2015 single “Can’t Feel My Face” was also just certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which now means he has four diamond singles to his name following the success of “The Hills,” “Starboy” and “Blinding Lights.”
The Weeknd has also been working on a new HBO Max TV show titled The Idol, which was made alongside Euphoria’s Sam Levinson. The show follows a Los Angeles club owner and cult leader (The Weeknd) who enters into a complicated relationship with a rising pop star (Lily-Rose Depp).