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Shawn Mendes On New Self-Titled LP, SZA, Eminem & Harry Potter
It's a big day for Shawn Mendes. On May 25, he dropped his latest self-titled studio album, which sees the Canadian singer/songwriter bust out of his well-established mold and incorporate rock, R&B and other genres into a fresh sound that has evolved organically since his start as a Vine star.
Mendes cut his teeth playing the guitar thanks to YouTube and when he started posting six-second snippets of popular song covers on the since-defunct micro-video social media platform Vine in 2013, he quickly gained the attention of a dedicated fanbase and a manager.
By 2014 he was signed to a major label and he released his debut full-length album, Handwritten, in 2015, which featured the No. 4 hit single "Stitches." He followed this successful start with 2016's Illuminate, spawning three Billboard Hot 100 Top 20 hits: "Mercy," "There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back" and "Treat You Better."
His latest self-titled LP features 14 new tracks spanning a variety of genres, allowing Mendes to show off his versatile chops. From the anxiety-driven single "In My Blood" to his latest single "Nervous," he has connected with audiences on a whole new level this time around, an experience he will share with fans while on tour in 2019.
We recently caught up with the 19-year-old Mendes to talk about the inspiration behind his new album, what tracks he feels most connected to, great food on tour, some musical collaborations, and more.
Congratulations on your new album. It sounds amazing and I am sure people are going to be excited to hear it. In terms of the inspiration behind the album, what can you share about the making of the album?
For me, it was just about exploring myself musically and not just sticking to one genre, and allowing myself to create the music that my heart really wanted to make and understanding that it's not about the genre but it's about the person and the cohesiveness within the stories I was telling and with my voice. That I'm really proud of. I'm proud of the fact that you can listen to the top of this album and hear a big rock anthem, and then halfway through you're in some kind of crazy slow R&B jam and then, at the very end, you're in the singer/songwriter world that everybody knows me [for].
Is there a particular track off the album that's really speaking to you at the moment, that you're really connected to?
That's very hard. I think "Where Were You In The Morning?" is just an awesome song, and "Why" is an incredible song to me, it just pulls some amazing emotions. "Like To Be You," "Nervous," all those songs are just so special to me.
— Shawn Mendes (@ShawnMendes) May 25, 2018
You're also going on tour so you're going to have a busy 2019. On days off between your tour dates, what are you going to do with your free time?
I have no idea. It depends on where I am. If I'm in Texas I'll probably go and get some awesome barbecue. If I'm in Oregon I'll probably go for a hike, but it depends on exactly where I am. What I will say is that all those days I'm just going to eat lots of food, because the food when you're traveling is so fun because there's different food in every place.
You've mentioned in the past that you would love to collaborate with Eminem. So what does that scenario look like? What kind of song would you write?
Eminem is one of the greatest artists of all time, in my opinion. That would be awesome. I got to see him perform a couple times live and he was just breathtaking in person and some of the new stuff that he's released has completely just resonated with me in an awesome way. Maybe something like the new Ed Sheeran song that he's done but that would be a dream.
So, Harry Potter: If you could teach at Hogwarts, which subject would you choose to teach and why?
I'd probably teach Defense Against The Dark Arts just because that's the coolest teacher and also I think it'd just be fun. I love Harry Potter.
I might have got a harry potter robe and 5 wands
— Shawn Mendes (@ShawnMendes) September 13, 2014
So amazing. I got to see her the other night. We just got along so well and we were both so nervous. In soundcheck we were fine; rehearsals we were fine. All the sudden you step onstage in front of Elton John and you're like, "Oh my god, my heart is beating out of my chest." It was so cool to experience something like that with her because I'm a new artist and so is she, and it was just really, really fun. And she's just a sweetheart and super-talented. I don't have enough words to explain how many good things there are about her.