It’s safe to say that Shawn Mendes has taken the music world by storm. But despite all of his success with his new album, he admits he still suffers with anxiety and spends a lot of his social media time on rumour control.
ET Canada’s Carlos Bustamante caught up with the singer-songwriter in Toronto, who spoke candidly about dealing with media scrutiny, opening up about his anxiety and working with John Mayer on his new self-titled album.
“It’s like broken telephone,” Mendes says of the media. “I say one thing or tweet one thing and a million articles re-write it in a different way. Then by the time you see it, it already went through 50 different platforms and you are reading nothing like what I said.”
The 19-year-old said that if people truly want to get to know him, he would encourage them to watch a real, live interview or to come find him on the street in order to discover his genuine thoughts and feelings. “I think it’s up to people to not believe every single thing that they see on media you know? Cause it’s broken telephone,” he adds.
When it comes to feeling the need to clarify himself in regards to personal stories about his love life, friends or family, Mendes reveals that the majority of the time he doesn’t, and believes that the media doesn’t deserve clarity unless there’s a story expressing something he truly doesn’t believe in.
“The more you go online and you tweet at the article and say ‘that’s not true,’ you’re doing exactly what they want, feeding the fire,” he says.
One thing that doesn’t need clarifying is the singer’s self-titled album, which has become his third number one on the Billboard charts.
Mendes has been very open about his struggle with anxiety, pouring his thoughts and feelings into his music. His new album’s lead single, “In My Blood” was a prime example of that.
“I think only ‘In My Blood’ was focused on anxiety, but it was something that I started experiencing a couple of years ago,” Mendes reveals. “It’s a very confusing thing for somebody who’s never experienced it to understand what it means, because it’s different for every person.”
“For me it was about creating a song that was vulnerable because I realized that music is one of the most intimate things on Earth. I wanted to create a song that had the personal intimate thing for people who needed it,” Mendes explains.
“I think one thing that I did a lot as I was growing up and will kind of always live by as I get older is that, as long as you’re being truthful, you can’t really be wrong. It’s never wrong to be truthful and authentic,” he adds.
Speaking of truthful and authentic, Mendes was fortunate enough to work some of the world’s top breakout artists, Khalid and Julia Michaels for his songs “Youth”, “Nervous” and “Like To Be You” from his new album, who he says are really genuine people.
“They care about music and they love music, and they’re fans of me and I’m fans of them,” he says. “I think when collaborating with an artist, the first thing that comes to mind is ‘I love you! You’re so awesome, I can’t believe I’m, working with you,’ and when that feeling is reciprocated is what creates magic and I think that we all have that with each other.”
The Pickering, Ont. native also shares what it was like to work with iconic singer-songwriter and close friend John Mayer on the album, who provided an epic guitar riff on his duet with Julia Michaels.
“He’s just a really, really good dude and extremely talented and he cares enough to listen to anybody. Even if millions of people know he’s the best guitarist in the world, he still will ask you ‘What did you just do on guitar? What was that?’,” Mendes expresses. “He cares about what you think no matter who you are. And he wants to learn from anybody. There’s nothing that’s making him think that he’s the best and I admire that so much about him.”