The Weeknd has been hit with a plagiarism lawsuit over his track ‘Call Out My Name’.
The singer – real name Abel Tesfaye – and his collaborators Nicolas Jaar and Frank Duke on the song, from 2018 mini-album ‘My Dear Melancholy’, are also implicated in the court case filed by producers Suniel Fox and Henry Strange, as are Universal Music Group.
Fox and Strange claim that ‘Call Out My Name’, which has over 700million views on YouTube, lifted elements from their 2015 track ‘Vibeking’, writing in their filing that the songs “contain quantitatively and qualitatively similar material in their respective lead guitar and vocal hooks, including melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic elements distinctive to ‘Vibeking.’”
The pair also claim to have records of correspondence with The Weeknd’s camp that supports their case, according to Law 360.
They allege that they emailed their song to Eric White – the Weeknd’s DJ and playback engineer, aka PNDA – who later told them Tesfaye described their track as “fire.”
White allegedly also wrote back implying that he wasn’t going to credit Fox and Strange for their work. “Just gonna tell [The Weeknd] that our production team wrote the track. Cool? Or u have another idea? Just don’t wanna say ‘Hey, [Strange] wrote this’ when he doesn’t know u,” he is alleged to have said.
In his response, Strange reportedly wrote: “[The Weeknd] knows me. Say both. [Strange] with Ponytail you met on Drake tour. Who is part of our production team.”
Fox and Strange are allegedly seeking all of the profits from ‘Call Out My Name’ as well as legal fees, and they want to block The Weeknd from performing or distributing the song until a verdict is reached.
NME has a contacted a spokesperson for The Weeknd for comment.
It comes after Yeasayer and Portishead previously accused the artist of copying their work.
Meanwhile, Toronto’s X University is set to offer a course on the worldwide impact of the Canadian city’s two biggest artists, Drake and The Weeknd, from next year.