Starting off with a boom
Shawn Mendes, from Vine sensation to pop star.
SHAWN Mendes has achieved a lot in the past two years since he made the leap fro m teenage Vine sensation to pop star.
His debut album, Handwritten, hit No .1. He was the opening act for Taylor Swift’ s stadium tour last summer and his current world to ur, which kicked o ff at Radio City Music Hall on Mar 5, essentially sold out completely within minutes. But the strange st first of Men des’ young career may also be the mo st telling.
Recently, his single Stitches hit No .1 on Billboard’ s adult pop charts. That’s right, Mendes has topped the adult pop charts even before he graduates from high school, before he becomes a legal adult. And he knows that’s a big deal. “It’s phenomenal for me ,” says Mendes, calling fro m his ho me in Pickering, Ontario . “I think the biggest fear of a 17- year-old artist e–my voice doesn’ t exactly sound mature yet–is not being accepted in the adult world.
“When Stitches started to react to mo re than kids and teenagers, that kind of says to you ,‘ Hey, man, you’ ve got a goods hot at a long career .’... It is weird, but it’s more incredible and satisfying because that’s what yo u want. You want your songs to reach people from five years old to 60 years old and have people like it .”
Oddly enough, when people like Men des’ music, it’s overwhelming ly because they like Mendes, and vice versa. There are no dancers in the Mendes live show. No band, though he says that will change on this tour.
Men des was a sight to behold when he opened for Swift last summer, standing alone on the stage with his acoustic guitar, ready to entertain 60,000 or so.
“It was very nerve- wracking to me,” he says. “But as the to ur went on, it became my secret weapon. No one was expecting that. It creates a different environment that not a lotof people have ever felt or seen before .... It was like, ‘ Hey, watch me. It’s different.’”
Ido Zmishlany, who co-wrote and produced Men des’ debut single, Life Of The Party, and several other tracks including the current single I Know What You Did Last Summer, says Mendes is a rarity. “There’ s a number of kids on Vine or You Tube that are musical personalities and all that ,” Zmishlany says. “Shawn is able to transcend that. He actually has the goods. He can sing with the best of them. And he can write.”
Zmishlany laughs about how quickly Mendes’ I Know What You
Did Last Summer came together, the single that was dreamed up by Men des and Fifth Harmony’ s Camila Cabello backstage at Taylor Swift’ s Met Life Stadium concert in New Jersey last year. “It was a magical session ,” he says.
M end essays the entire experience was unplanned .“Camila and I were friends from before and she was thereto see Taylor ,” he recalls .“We were just jamming on guitar and things started to click. The next day we were in the studio for 11 hours. It was a great ebb and flo w.”
Of course, when two talkedabout stars get together for a buzzed-about du et, the rum our mill shifts into overdrive–something Men des say she tries to ignore.
“You can’t just be doing a spectacular song ,” he says, adding that the pair are simply good friends. “It ends up being mo re.”
The rum ours are simply part of the different road teenage stars have to navigate that other stars don’ t.
Island Records president David Massey says that priorities for Mendes have to be different fro m priorities for adult artist es.
“One thing that’s really important tome and obviously to his parents is to make sure that he finishes his education, so the next six months of Shawn’ s career would also en compass him having to graduate high school ,” Massey recently told Billboard .“It’s not quite the same as dealing with a 25- year-old .”
However, Men des’ goals are the same as any artiste. He is already at work on his second album, which he ho p es will be released by the end of the summer, adding that fans may hear so me new songs on the current tour.
“I just want to get together as many good songs as possible ,” he says, adding that he is still processing ho w much his life has changed. “I’m learning mo re every day. That’s also why I want to create as how that feels very different.”
M end essays he is excited about this world tour because it is bigger than he could ever have imagined.
“You don’ t really know about how many people like your music until you put tickets to your shows on sale ,” he says .“That we were able to sell out places, like two dates in England in a 4,000- seat venue? That’s the best feeling in the world .... That means a lotto me.”
And he plans on not disappointing anyone, starting with the Radio City show.
“It’s been along time since we did as how in New York ,” Men des says, adding that he wanted to launch the to ur at Radio City. “I wanted to make a statement about this to ur ... . We’re starting o ff with aboom .”
Mendes hopes to write songs that everyone can relate to. ‘ you want your songs to reach people from five years old to 60 years old and have people like it,’ he says.
Photo: FAIhAn GhAnI/