Shawn Mendes may only be 20, but he’s come a long way from the teen internet star posting six-second clips of guitar covers on Vine. In just the past week, the singer performed at the MTV Video Music Awards and both opened and closed the iHeartRadio MMVAs, taking home four awards along the way. In a new Variety cover story, Mendes shared how his drive is the X-factor to his success.
“I want to push myself to my limit of what I can handle and play as many shows and write as many songs as I can and fly around the world 10,000 times in a year,” he told the magazine, “Pushing myself to the point where it seems crazy. Ed [Sheeran] did that and he’s doing that, and there’s something so exciting about pulling at that energy.”
The singer notes how it’s one thing to want to pursue music as a career and quite another to have a passion for it. He shared that both John Mayer and Ed Sheeran -- once his idols, now his contemporaries and friends – were quick to connect with him over their shared “desire to be great.”
“I think maybe John and Ed saw something in me that they had in themselves, which is a desire to be great,” Mendes said, “It’s not something you can acquire, and maybe it’s rare. I meet a lot of people who ask, ‘How do I do what you do?’ and within the first 10 minutes, from the way they talk about music, I can see that as much as they want to want it, they don’t. It’s just something you kind of have.”
And, boy, is he willing to put in the work. Everyone from Elton John to Camila Cabello to his manager shared stories about Shawn’s intense determination and how he spends even his off time on more practice.
“When we were on tour together, I never saw him,” Cabello said, “He would go to his tour bus and practice guitar, then go onstage, and then go back and practice guitar. He’s the most dedicated, driven person I know.”
Mendes also seems to understand that commercial success in the music industry isn’t just about the performance – although that’s a lot of it. It’s also about connecting with fans in a tangible and lasting way, something he says he’s very comfortable with.
“People forget how important groundwork is — physically being in every city, meeting people, like in a presidential campaign,” he said, “I’ve known nothing but that since I was 15, so it’s not like I was at one time very private and now I have to be open. I’ve always been like that. I don’t find it hard or disruptive, and I think I’m OK with it — until I’m not, anyway.”
How does a young good-looking man such as Mendes make time for a personal life and romance amidst the work and chaos? He doesn’t really, but he’s not too upset about it.
“I’m not currently dating anyone, but it’s not because I don’t have time — I don’t know if I’d be dating anyone if I was home in Pickering, either,” he said, “It hasn’t stumbled across me, and I’m not chasing it. Of course, seeing all those other artists and people in relationships, you think, ‘Maybe it would be nice; who would be great for me?’ And that’s when you realize: ‘This is wrong. Let it be. I’m not supposed to be with anyone right now.’”
He might not be looking for a relationship of his own right now, but he’s certainly happy for those around him who have found love. Like the newly engaged Hailey Baldwin and Justin Bieber.
“It’s great to see two amazing people get together,” Mendes said of the match, “If you know them both separately it does make a lot of sense — a little bit of yin and yang.”
So Shawn’s not rushing any kind of relationship at the moment, but that doesn’t mean he’s taking himself too seriously; the opposite, in fact. He shared with the magazine the most embarrassing moment of his career – falling onstage at Festival d’été in Quebec in front of his idol Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters.
“I fell on my ass in front of 80,000 people,” he said, “I was excited and I didn’t see how high I was jumping from, and Dave Grohl was on the side of the stage, watching … It was … amazing.”
LOL yep. Im ok but also that was insane hahahahaha https://t.co/kGBeGAUyQH— Shawn Mendes (@ShawnMendes) July 9, 2018
There are enough sayings about getting back up after falling down to suggest that despite the embarrassing spill, Mendes is going to be just fine.Justin BieberProfileShawn MendesVariety