In September, Abel Tesfaye promised fans Ethiopian influences on his forthcoming Starboy album, coming out November 25 on Republic. Speaking with VMAN, The Weeknd revealed Amharic will “definitely be key” on the new record.
We now know that at least one of those influences can be heard on his second Starboysingle. As The Wall Street Journal’s Alan Lightpoints out, the legendary Ethiopian singer Aster Aweke is sampled for a brief moment towards the end of “False Alarm.”
In an interview with Light, Tesfaye called Aweke “the Whitney Houston of Ethiopia.” He’s previously referred to her (in the interview with VMAN) as one of his “subconscious inspirations” alongside fellow Ethiopians he grew up listening to like Tilahun Gessesse and Mahmoud Ahmed