Bringing a trail of frenzy and his guitar-licked jams to Singapore recently, our December cover star Shawn Mendes proved just why he’s the ultimate teen phenomenon of today.
Shawn Mendes is the “modern day rockstar” of our generation – a title he proudly relishes during a backstage interview with us before his sold-out maiden gig at The Star Theatre. And any reservations about his insurmountable success despite his age should be firmly chucked at the door. Granted, the Canadian superstar is only 19-years-old, but one look at his mettle as an artist and performer on stage will leave you convinced of his timeless talent.
Which is why it was expected that upon setting foot into the 5000-strong venue, we were greeted with ear-deafening cheers and an overwhelmingly buzz from a surprisingly diverse crowd. From boyfriends accompanying their starstruck partners, to parents joining in the fun with their diehard offsprings, the Mendes Army was very much in full swing. Shawn took the stage and launched into the recognisable guitar intro of his most recent hit ‘There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back’, where the audience swiftly erupted into a mesmerised party.
Photo: AEG Presents
Shawn was one with his arsenal of guitars, hitting pitch perfect notes through his catalogue of mostly mid-tempo hits like ‘Life of the Party’, ‘Three Empty Words’ and ‘A Little Too Much’. But it was deeper cuts like ‘Bad Reputation’ – a track he professed as “visually stunning” in our interview, and the pounding ‘Mercy’ that got the sea of awestruck fans even more immersed in his presence, aided by a swirling ring of background lights and video backdrops.
Photo: AEG Presents
While Shawn kept his on-stage banter to a minimal – save for several shoutouts to the crowd – he knew just how to work his handsome charms to a T. Whether it’s running his hands through his curls, swooping down to the swarming front rows for a quick hi-five, or a simple beaming smile at the end of every song, he betrayed his mere three years of performing experience and worked the stage like a seasoned pro. With an array of awards collected, a devout fanbase, and now evidently a global touring force, is it any wonder that there’re greater things to come from Shawn Mendes in 2018 and beyond?
Read on for our full interview with Shawn Mendes where he talks about his love for Camila Cabello, utter detest for tomatoes, New Year resolutions and more.
This is your first full arena tour and first time in Singapore, how does it feel?
It feels great! There’s definitely a little bit more sense of urgency here in Singapore than there was in Australia and the fans seem really excited so I’m excited.
What do you think of Singapore so far? Any local food that you’ve tried?
It’s great, I love it here. It’s super westernised. I feel like every person I’ve talked to speaks English. It feels like [I’m] not that far away from home, even though it is so it’s fun. I’ve honestly not tried much local food. I’ve been playing it safe ‘cos I’m scared. If things smell like, what’s that fruit from earlier?, [Durian] I’m never gonna eat it.
You’ve gotten words of wisdom from the likes of Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift. What’s one piece of advice that you would share with budding musicians that are trying to make it from social media as well?
I would say to do music that you truly believe in and to sing songs that you like to sing, because if you’re singing stuff just because you think that’s gonna make you famous, it’s not gonna work.
You’re now in your last year as a teenager. What’s something you would tell your 13-year-old self back?
I would say to calm down, because it’s going to work out. But I guess you don’t know that when you’re 13, you think everything’s scary.
The world is in love with your friendship with Camila Cabello. You guys aren’t together but do you think she’s girlfriend material?
Oh, absolutely! The next guy that finds her should just wife her up. But I love her, she’s one of my best friends. She has the best sense of humour, and she’s probably, other than me, the most determined person I’ve ever met.
What do you think about her new singles?
I love them! I think they’re amazing. I thought ‘I Have Questions’ and ‘Havana’ were awesome, and ‘Never Be The Same’ is incredible! I heard it a week before it came out and I can’t stop playing it.
Fans on the Internet initially mistook Camila Mendes [from Riverdale] as a ship name for Camila and yourself . Are you a fan of Riverdale? And do you ship Varchie (Veronica and Archie) or Bughead (Betty and Jughead) more?
I think I would ship… Varchie [Laughs] I saw that whole thing about Camila Mendes – it was pretty funny.
You’ve cited Ed Sheeran as one of your biggest music influences. Would you consider collaborating with him? Who else would you like to collab with?
Oh I would love to! We had talked about writing a lot, but he’s always in the opposite side of the world as me. There’s a ton of other artists [I’d love to work with] too. I think Khalid is awesome, and I’d love to work with Alicia Keys, Bruno Mars…
Can we expect a new album from you?
Yeah! That’s what I’m working on right now. I’m writing as many songs as I can write and there will be a third album sooner than later. But I can’t tell you much more about it. Hopefully there will be collaborations, but I can’t say just yet.
You’ve been outspoken before about your thoughts on holding back certain opinions on social media because it can become a negative space, but of course sometimes there’s also nothing holding you back. How do you find the balance and decide what needs to be said and what needs to be reined in and saved as drafts?
That’s a great question. I mean, I don’t think there’s a real method in finding the balance, but I believe that social media is a lot easier when it’s positive thoughts, and sending positive messages because when positivity is put on social media, it explodes to something amazing. But when negativity is on social media, it digs people into a hole and that’s not good. I’d much rather just spend my time putting positive stuff and keeping the negative to myself.
It’s no secret that you aren’t a fan of tomatoes. Would you rather eat a whole tomato, or lose to an arm wrestling contest with Charlie Puth?
[Laughs] I’d probably rather lose in an arm wrestling contest with Charlie Puth, even though that would never happen.
You’re in your last stretch for your tour dates this year. What are your plans for New Year’s Eve and any 2018 resolutions?
I’m not exactly sure yet. My new year resolution is just to step up my music and release a better album than my last two.
2017 was a huge year for you – topping music charts, winning awards, your tour… What’s your greatest personal highlight?
That’s a hard question. I think, the tour has been so much fun. Every time I get off stage and the show goes well, whether I’m in Europe, Toronto or in Singapore, it’s really the best feeling in the world.
Featured image: AEG Presents
Stay tuned to find out how you can score yourself an AUTOGRAPHED Shawn Mendes poster!
More related stories: Selena Gomez, Instagram’s Most Followed Celebrity Just Put Her Account On Private, MØ On Being Both Mainstream And Alternative: “It’s Hard To Find The Balance”, Harry Styles Brings His Charm To First Solo Singapore Gig, Here’s Why Billie Eilish Is 2018’s Next Big Star