Shawn Mendes

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About Shawn Mendes

Shawn Mendes once said the best advice he ever got about how to handle preshow jitters came from his then-tourmate Taylor Swift. “Just remember,” Swift said. “Everyone’s here to have fun.” Fun? Yeah, sure. But they were also there to see Mendes perform, share his feelings, bare his soul. “When you’re writing something super-honest and about people you care about and things you’ve been through, the last thing you want to do is relive upsetting experiences,” Mendes told Apple’s Music around the release of his 2018 self-titled album. “But that’s the music that travels and connects with people.” And therein lies the rub. Soulful but soft, wholesome without sounding like he’s hiding something, Mendes is the rare artist who has managed to find audiences in both the teen-pop and adult-contemporary set, blending singer-songwriter conventions with the lighter sides of R&B and dance music, bucking trends in part by ignoring them to begin with. Born in the Toronto suburbs in August 1998 (a Leo—confident and optimistic), Mendes started out by uploading six-second covers of pop songs onto the video-sharing service Vine. Like Justin Bieber on YouTube before him, he navigated the leap from covers to original material, from making content to forging a career, modeling himself on the sound of artists, like John Mayer and Ed Sheeran—superstars whose charm lies, in part, in how un-super they seem. Within a couple of years, he released his first album, Handwritten. Success was huge and immediate. Illuminate arrived in 2016, followed by Shawn Mendes in 2018, marking transitions toward adult themes—anxiety, sexuality—without shedding the brightness or earnestness that made him appealing to begin with. “The hardest thing in the world is to wake up in the morning and be, like, ‘Today I’m me, regardless of how big of a song “Stitches” was,’” Mendes told Apple Music, referring to his 2015 breakthrough single. “The best way to do it is to ignore that and take your step forward in what you think sounds amazing. And that’s kind of all you can do.”

Pickering, Ontario, Canada
August 8, 1998
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