Shawn Peter Raul Mendes, singer, songwriter, model, mental health advocate (born 8 August 1998 in Pickering, ON). Pop phenom Shawn Mendes followed in the footsteps of earlier Canadian pop music star Justin Bieber, building a following for himself online in his teens before signing with a major label. Mendes is the only artist to have four No. 1 singles on the Adult Pop Songs chart before the age of 20. Released when he was 16, his first full-length studio album, Handwritten (2015), debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and quickly went platinum in the US. In fact, his first four albums all debuted at No. 1. Together they have sold more than 4 million copies in the US, while Mendes’s singles have sold more than 13 million copies. He has received 11 Juno Awards and 20 SOCAN Awards, as well as three Grammy Award nominations.
Mendes taught himself how to play guitar by watching videos online. Following in the footsteps of Canadian pop music star Justin Bieber, he began posting clips of himself online covering well-known pop songs such as Bieber’s “As Long as You Love Me” and Adele’s “Hometown Glory.” By the time he was 14, Mendes had three million combined followers on YouTube and Vine and was writing his own songs. In high school, he was active in sports and drama. He graduated from Pine Ridge Secondary School in 2016.
Mendes’s popularity online, particularly on Vine, caught the attention of American talent manager Andrew Gertler in late 2013. Mendes signed with Island Records in May 2014. His first single, “Life of the Party,” was released in June and debuted on the Billboard Top 25. Just shy of his 16th birthday, Mendes became the youngest artist to debut that high on the Billboard charts. He followed this with his first major label EP in July of 2014, which peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200.
On 14 April 2015, Mendes released his first studio LP, Handwritten. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and quickly went platinum in the US with sales of more than one million copies. Mendes was the youngest artist to debut on the Billboard chart since fellow Canadian Justin Bieber did so in 2010. Mendes closed out 2015 as the opening act on Taylor Swift’s 1989 North American Tour. He also earned a 2015 Juno Award nomination for Breakthrough Artist of the Year. In 2016, Mendes received Juno nominations for Album of the Year and Pop Album of the Year for Handwritten, as well as for Artist of the Year.
The lead single “Treat You Better” preceded Mendes’s second album, Illuminate, which was released in September 2016. The single reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, while the album debuted at the top of both the Canadian Albums chart and the Billboard 200. Mendes completed his first solo world concert tour in 2016 and performed on NBC’s Saturday Night Live for the first time in December of that year.
In 2017, Mendes again went on a world tour in support of Illuminate. The tour sold out almost immediately. Mendes performed at some of the largest venues in the world, including the O2 in London. By November 2017, Mendes had earned the distinction of having three No. 1 songs on the Billboard Adult Pop Songs chart before the age of 20.
Shawn Mendes (2018)
Mendes would add to that tally when his single, “In My Blood,” off his self-titled third album, reached No. 1 on the Billboard pop chart in spring 2018. This made him the first and so far only artist to have four No. 1 singles on the Adult Pop Songs chart before the age of 20. Mendes’s third album debuted at No. 1 on the Canadian Album Chart and on the Billboard 200, making him the third-youngest solo artist (after Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus) to debut with three No. 1 albums. Mendes embarked on another world tour in support of the album and performed as part of the 92nd birthday celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II. He also received 2018 Grammy Award nominations for Best Pop Vocal Album (Shawn Mendes) and Song of the Year (“In My Blood”).
Mendes released his fourth album, Wonder, in December 2020. Like his previous albums, it debuted at No. 1 in Canada and the US. “Señorita,” a duet with Mendes’s romantic partner, Camila Cabello, won a 2020 Juno Award for Single of the Year and received a 2019 Grammy nomination for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
Style and Influences
In 2020, the Guardian’s Simon Hattenstone described Mendes as “unfailingly polite, charming, gorgeous: the perfect pop star.” He also cited a 2019 NME article that said Mendes “had the makings of a Generation Z Bruce Springsteen: he looks good in a sleeveless vest, knows how to steam up a crowd, and is regarded as an all-round good guy who respects rather than objectifies women.” However, Hattenstone noted that, “For all the millions of fans, [Mendes] has plenty of detractors who say he lacks personality” and who describe his music as “bland and formulaic.”
Mendes’s musical style is generally described as pop, pop-rock, teen-pop or soft-rock. He has cited John Mayer as an important influence, while also crediting pop stars such as Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars. The band Kings of Leon is often cited as a notable rock influence in his music. Mendes has said that he would like his career to follow that of Justin Bieber and credits him as an early, foundational figure in his career.
Mendes did some voice acting in animated films before his singing career took off. His first role was in the animated feature Underdogs (2013). Mendes made his live action acting debut in 2016, appearing on the CW’s The 100 in the premier episode of its third season.
In March 2017, it was announced that Mendes would star in the feature film Summer of Love, a road-trip musical to be produced and directed by Ivan Reitman. Reitman’s production company had financed the script’s development and was pursuing a distribution deal. As of September 2021, the project had not advanced to production. However, Mendes released a single called “Summer of Love” on 20 August 2021.
Shortly after Mendes broke through in 2015, rumours began to circulate that he might be gay. He addressed the issue directly in an interview with US Weekly in June 2016. “First of all, I’m not gay,” he said. “Second of all, it shouldn’t make a difference if I was or if I wasn’t…. I’m frustrated because in this day and age people have the audacity to write online that I’m gay as if it were a bad thing. That’s all I really have to say about that.”
Mendes briefly dated model and socialite Hailey Baldwin (daughter of actor Stephen Baldwin) in 2018, before she became engaged to Justin Bieber in June of that year. Since July 2019, Mendes has been in a relationship with Cuban American pop singer Camila Cabello.
Mendes has spoken publicly about his mental health and his struggles with anxiety. He has become an advocate for people with mental health issues. In May 2021, he and Cabello became brand ambassadors for Calm, a meditation app designed to help reduce anxiety.
Modelling and Brand Endorsement
Honours and Awards
Shawn Mendes quickly established himself as one of the most popular and recognized Canadian artists of all time. He has won more than 120 professional awards, including multiple American Music Awards, Billboard Live Music Awards, BMI Pop Awards, E! Peoples Choice Awards, MTV Europe Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards and Teen Choice Awards, among many others. His Canadian awards are listed below.
- Juno Fan Choice (2017)
- Single of the Year (“There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”) (2018)
- Juno Fan Choice (2018)
- Album of the Year (Shawn Mendes) (2019)
- Pop Album of the Year (Shawn Mendes) (2019)
- Single of the Year (“In My Blood”) (2019)
- Songwriter of the Year (“Lost in Japan” / “Youth” / “In My Blood” shared with others) (2019)
- Artist of the Year (2019)
- Single of the Year (“Señorita” shared with Camila Cabello) (2020)
- Artist of the Year (2020)
- Juno Fan Choice (2021)
- Breakout Artist (2015)
- Pop/Rock Music Award (“Something Big”) (2016)
- Classic Music Award (“Something Big”) (2016)
- Pop Music Award (“Treat You Better”) (2017)
- No. 1 Song Award (“Something Big”) (2017)
- No. 1 Song Award (“A Little Too Much”) (2017)
- No. 1 Song Award (“I Know What You Did Last Summer”) (2017)
- No. 1 Song Award (“Mercy”) (2017)
- No. 1 Song Award (“Treat You Better”) (2017)
- No. 1 Song Award (“There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”) (2017)
- Songwriter of the Year (2018)
- Pop Music Award (“Mercy”) (2018)
- Pop Music Award (“There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”) (2018)
- Songwriter of the Year – Performer Award (2020)
- International Achievement Award (2020)
- International Song Award (“Señorita”) (2020)
- Pop Music Award (“Señorita”) (2020)
- Pop Music Award (“If I Can’t Have You”) (2020)
- Pop Music Award (“Wonder”) (2021)
- Pop Music Award (“Monster”) (2021)
Much Music Video Awards
- Fan Fave Video (“Something Big”) (2015)
- Best Pop Video (“I Know What You Did Last Summer” with Camila Cabello) (2016)
- Fan Fave Video (“I Know What You Did Last Summer” with Camila Cabello) (2016)
- Best Pop Video (“Mercy”) (2017)
- Best Pop Artist or Group (2018)
- Artist of the Year (2018)
- Fan Fave Artist (2018)
- Fan Fave Video (“In My Blood”) (2018)
- Best Collaboration (“Señorita” with Camila Cabello) (2020)
- Allan Slaight Music Impact Honour (2015)
Canadian Radio Music Awards
- Chart Topper Award (2016)