A "new era" is beginning for The Weeknd. On Sunday night, the musician, real name Abel Testafe, shared a one-and-half-minute video to social media titled "The Dawn Is Coming" previewing a new song. In the comments section of the post, he wrote, "Say your final goodbyes..." and later confirmed in an interview with GQ that this new era is "the album I've always wanted to make," setting off a vibrant response from fans eager for the post-After Hours era.
The nod to a new era first began at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards back in May, though it ramped up in recent days. Just days ahead of the Sunday video, the Weeknd stripped his Instagram clean, including his profile picture, and told fans on Twitter to "say their final goodbyes." Then, ahead of the song's preview, he took to Twitter to write, "f– it ... IT STARTS TONIGHT." He then released the clip, which features the musician at one point moodily singing, "Take my hand."
The promise of new music quickly ignited social media, with fans eager to welcome the new era. On Twitter, one person joked that it was "time to listen to the weeknd's entire discography for an entire day since the dawn era is starting." After listening to the brief tease, another person wrote that the musician is "mastering Synthwave and I'm loving it." Somebody else tweeted, "THIS ERA ABOUT TO BE SO F–ING AMAZING AHHH," with a fourth fan adding, "The After Hours era was so iconic... I can't wait to see what he does with this new one."
Although little more has been revealed about the new era, The Weeknd told Variety in May, "If the last record is the after hours of the night, then the dawn is coming." Teasing new music on Twitter just last month, he said he is "really proud of this one," adding, "just so there's no confusion, it's a full body of work." He previously revealed that he'd been making music amid coronavirus-related lockdowns. In a series of tweets, he said he "made so much magic in the small quarantined room" and was "now just piecing it all together." He called the new project "beautiful."
The new era will follow the March 2020 release of After Hours, The Weeknd's fourth studio album. With songs like "Save Your Tears" and "Blinding Lights," the album was a massive hit, though he was notably snubbed by the Grammys, prompting his boycott. In his interview with GQ, The Weeknd reaffirmed his decision to forgo competing at the Grammys in the future, telling the outlet that he has "no interest" in submitting his future work for Grammy consideration. He said he is "glad that I can make music and not have to think about that. I'll never be in that conversation ever again."