Shawn Mendes and Zac Brown Band team up on the latest episode of “CMT Crossroads”.
The Canadian crooner and country music act joined forces for Wednesday’s show, which was taped last month in Nashville. Mendes, 20, is a big fan of Zac Brown Band and had zero reservations about performing with them.
“I got this chance to do ‘Crossroads’, and [the producers asked], ‘Who would you like to do “Crossroads” with?’ My first thought was, Zac Brown Band,” Mendes recently told Rolling Stone.
“Zac had a show [in Toronto], and he sent word to come say hi on their bus before the concert. I came onto the bus, and Zac and the whole band were having a jam session singing in four-part harmony with tons of guitars,” Mendes reflected. “They were like, ‘Take a seat. Grab a guitar! Play!’ And I was like, ‘Whoa! Like, this is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I’m terrified to play.'”
The unique onstage collaboration afforded the “Lost in Japan” singer an opportunity to perform in ways he does not often get to.
“Their band stepped in a little with my band, and my band stepped in with them. We kind of created this bit of fusion — country, pop-rock, and it’s very cool,” he said. “In places where I usually wouldn’t stand for a second and jam out, I get to do that now. That’s something I always want to do, but sometimes don’t.”
Mendes’ name may be closely associated with pop, but the Ontario native has plenty of country in his soul: “Growing up in the suburbs, country music was a huge, massive thing. People listened to country more than anything when I was a kid.”
He agreed with Rolling Stone that his style is similar to country stars like Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini. “It’s so close, and that’s why it’s amazing,” he said. “I mean, good music and [a] good story and a good feeling are what makes up good songs, and there’s no genre behind that.”
In fact, Mendes spends “a lot” of time in Nashville. “I think I’ve spent two birthdays in Nashville,” he explained. “It’s a really awesome place. Every time I come back, I’m like, ‘This city is really special.’ There’s no darkness here, and that’s really deep, but I mean that. It’s a very light place. Everything is really pure here.”
Mendes is currently on tour performing at various events with Alessia Cara, G-Eazy, Camila Cabello, among others.