EXCLUSIVE Interview with SHAWN MENDES, THE NEXT STAR Finale Performer

By: Alexandria McLean | @itbalexandria 

Mendes_Performance 0299This was a summer to remember for Shawn Mendes. After releasing his first EP, The Shawn Mendes EP, it secured the number one spot on the iTunes’ Top Album chart within thirty-seven minutes! To top things off, Shawn’s first single “Life Of The Party” made Shawn the youngest artist to debut in the Top 25 of the Billboard Top 100 Chart.

With over three million followers on Vine alone, Shawn Mendes has fans all around the world. However, this Canadian boy came back to Canada to perform at The Next Star Finale.

The Magazine got the chance to sit down with Shawn to discuss preshow rituals, his advice for the winner, and getting scared by Ellen!

The Magazine: How did you go about preparing for tonight’s performance?

Shawn: Usually when I have big things like this to happen, it’s a weird thing, but I try not to think about it as much as I can. The more relaxed I am coming into it, the better job I will do. So I don’t really sing the song over a million of times. Well, I was also on tour all summer so I was practicing the song everyday for months so I was practicing all the time. I just try to stay very relaxed and try not to stress out about it.

The Magazine: What advice do you have for the winner of The Next Star?

Shawn: I think it just, the biggest thing is to stay true to yourself and stay humble. Never forget the people who helped you become who you are and get you where you are because that is the biggest thing.

The Magazine: How did you get into performing on stage after you started posting covers on Vine? 

Shawn: It kind of just came out of nowhere. I started doing these little things called Magcon where I would do little two songs on a stage every once and a while, and we would do these meet and greets. As the months passed on, I started to do more and more performances and it just got crazier and crazier and crazier.

The Magazine: You have an EP that came out this summer. You wrote three of the songs off the album, is there a certain song that you connect with the most?

Shawn: Show You, I really love that song. The meaning behind it is basically to tell people that there is always going to be someone who tells you, you cannot do this. A lot of people told me I wouldn’t be able to handle the stress because I am so young for whatever. Or you can’t be the captain of your soccer team because you are too heavy, or not fast enough, whatever the reason is that people say you cannot do something, show them you can do it. It is a very empowering song and it makes me feel super uplifted and proud when I sing it. It’s cool.

The Magazine: The unique thing about you is it is just you and your guitar on stage. As you continue to grow as an artist, do you hope to continue this?

Shawn: One hundred percent. I would love to have a band in the future but I feel like that stripped down version of just me and the guitar feels really awesome all the time, very real. 

The Magazine: You have a Life On The Road series on YouTube, what can fans expect from that? 

Shawn: It is really cool because you really get to see the backstage footage. We are not just always hanging around, we are working our butts off all the time. It’s really nice to have my fans be able to see what I have actually been doing behind the stage. It’s really cool.

The Magazine: You were recently on Ellen, how was that experience? 

Shawn: Oh wow, one of my dreams was to be on Ellen from before I even started singing, or even see Ellen! She is such an inspiration for me and I look up to her so much. So actually getting to meet her and actually getting to be on the show was just one of the biggest things that has ever happened to me in my career so it was really truly incredible.

The Magazine: Ellen also did her famous scaring prank on you. What was it like getting scared by Ellen?

Shawn: They said, “Hey can you come out? We are just going to make a quick Vine telling everyone you are going to be on Ellen tomorrow.” I said sure but they had this big camera. I was a little suspicious because they had her big camera. They told me they just take it off the camera because it looks better so I just said okay. So they were just setting me up and said I can go whenever, but there were people behind the camera and they were making noise in the middle of me talking so I thought should I stop. It was super confusing because she jumps out when I was trying to speak to people, and it looks like it was planned because I stopped talking. But she really scared me! She really scared me!

The Magazine: Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Shawn: Every show since the beginning of the tour I rub my tour manager’s head. I make fun of him because he is going bald so I rub his head for good luck.

The Magazine: You have over 3 million followers on Vine, so you must be doing something right! What goes into making a great Vine?

Shawn: Be yourself on Vine. I despise when people act like different people. Don’t act like something you are not. If you are truly funny and you just post videos of what you think is funny, people are going to connect with you. If you are talented and you post videos of what you like to sing, people are going to connect with you. When you have the reality in your videos, it makes a big difference. Be yourself, it’s the best way to do it.

The Magazine: Earlier in the summer you were on tour with Austin Mahone. We were there  at the Toronto show, and we can honestly say that the fans went crazy! What was that experience like? 

Shawn: It was surreal. Every time I walked on the stage it was a totally surreal feeling that I cannot even explain. It’s hard to explain.

The Magazine: What’s next for you? 

Shawn: The album! I am working on the album all week next week, so hopefully we have a full LP coming soon. It is going to be very similar to the EP, but we also have some very, really sort of big boom songs. Something big is definitely coming your way.

The Magazine: Message for you Canadian fans?

Shawn: I love you! Thank you guys for all your support!

Thanks Shawn!

Shawn will be going on this first headline tour this year! Catch Shawn at his only Canadian stop in Toronto on November 30th at The Danforth Music Hall in Toronto. Tickets go on sale this Saturday. The first fifty fans will win an exclusive free meet and greet with Shawn.

For more information about how you can get tickets, click here.

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