We Need to Talk About Shawn Mendes

Monday, February 22, 2016


Image from Rolling Stone

After attending the 1989 World Tour with my sister Mary Claire last October, one minor aspect of the show (in the grand scheme of things) stood out to me: Taylor's opening act, Shawn Mendes. I was familiar with Mendes' song "Stitches" from Top 40, but had never listened to the whole thing. I'm one of those people who is always extremely late to jump on the bandwagon, if you can't tell already.

Anyway, after 1989, Mary Claire and I kept talking about how awesome Mendes was. Like surprisingly really great live. There are very few artists that can command a 50,000+ audience alone on a stage with only an acoustic guitar. He didn't even have a band. And he is so young! 17!

Shawn performing at the 1989 World Tour in Atlanta
my own image

If this intrigues you, I'll let you know that he started out as a Vine star, which means he became famous from six second videos. SIX SECONDS PEOPLE. He later signed with Island Records and released his first album, Handwritten. His popular single "Stitches" reached no. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and his newest single with Camilla Cabello ("I Know What You Did Last Summer") was the product of a jam session backstage at Taylor's tour. Most of the songs on his debut album are co-written by him. He eats a bowl of cereal everyday and his favorite Taylor Swift song is "Our Song." His show at the Fox Theater in Atlanta is already sold out.

The tipping point for me was a pretty typical musical realization. I was running and the song "Something Big" came on. Lyrically, this song describes the feeling you have when you are on the brink of something life-altering. You've got one foot in the door of your future and you can almost see through the haze. You're standing on a solid foundation of hard work and you can almost taste success. Obviously this is a great pump up song if you are running, but I particularly related to the feeling of standing on the edge looking forward to what comes next after I shed my cap and gown. Production-wise, it has all the fast strumming and percussive beats that get your heart pounding. I also recommend listening to this song when you're in the car on the way to an interview or writing a tough research paper.

If after all this I've convinced you to become a fan and you are dying for more, here is the cutest interview, the greatest music video, and a favorite article. From Handwritten, listen to "I Don't Even Know Your Name," "Aftertaste," and "Strings."

Mary Claire and I at the 1989 World Tour, waiting for Shawn to open the show! 
my own image

Are you a Shawn Mendes fan? What is your favorite song from Handwritten?

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