Canadian singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes first came to fame in 2013, when he began posting covers of songs on YouTube. Fast-forward four years, and the 19-year-old has toured the world three times and released two studio albums – Handwritten in 2015, and last year’s Illuminate. On December 13, Mendes will be bringing his Illuminate world tour to Hong Kong’s AsiaWorld-Expo.
Speaking to Young Post last month, Mendes said he was excited to be coming to Hong Kong, as it will be his first ever visit to the city. “I love meeting fans in new places, which is why I can’t wait! Some of the best memories are when you go to a new place for the first time, so I’ll need the fans to tell me what I should see, or do, there.”
His latest world tour has already been a huge success, and has featured a show at Brazilian festival Rock in Rio earlier this year, in which he played in front of 100,000 people – but Mendes wants to reach more fans.
“Next year, I want to do lots of festivals, and bigger shows to more of a widespread audience. I’m hoping to create music that allows me to do that,” he revealed in a recent interview. “I set out to write songs that the masses can sing to, or play in a stadium, and that everyone can relate to. Some of the biggest anthems in the world are very personal songs, and have nothing to do with being an anthem. They [just] became one.” His goal, he said, was just to write music that he loves.
Despite being continuously on the road, the musician said he has managed to find time to work on his next album. “It’s coming along. I’ve got about 25 songs. I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I know it’s going to be amazing. I won’t let it be anything less.”
The YouTube star said he feels the pressure to deliver great songs to rival fan favourites like Bad Reputation, or Ruin, and added: “It’s like I’m challenging myself to become the next phase of me. It’s really hard. You find what people like, and you wonder whether you should do it again, or try and make it better – and what even is ‘better’?”
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In 2014, Mendes, with DoSomething.org, launched the Notes From Shawn campaign to help boost the self-esteem of strangers, combat depression, and bring awareness to the issue of self-harm. The campaign was launched again in 2015 and 2016.
“Seeing people’s stories about how they shared the notes with each other, how they made new friends, or how they’ve helped someone that was in need of [something to] brighten up their day … it’s created this real community between my fans, and it’s been really heart-warming to see.”
“I used to love watching covers online,” Mendes told Young Post when asked if he had any tips for aspiring musicians and singers. “I wanted to do the same, so I got a guitar and taught myself how to play. I don’t think there’s any best way to get noticed, though, other than just being yourself and giving it your all.”