After Justin, it's Shawn

He is 16, Taylor Swift’s friend, and on top of the Billboard chart. Hello, Shawn Mendes!

  • Published 26.04.15

Just in: Move over Justin
2010. A 16-year-old Justin Bieber went “baby, baby, baby” and YouTube went wild, so did the US Billboard 200 chart on which his album My World 2.0 became a cherry on top. Five years –– and several Bieber controversies –– later, 16-year-old Shawn Mendes has repeated the feat with his debut album Handwritten. The first week sales figure reads 119,000 copies! And making the feat possible is the first single off the album, Life Of The Party.

Let’s shine a light on Shawn
He has been cultivated on Vine, the short-form video sharing service owned by Twitter. How short? Six seconds. It was the summer of 2013 when everyone was –– and still is! –– uploading cover versions to YouTube. “I was sitting in my bedroom and my sister came in and I said, ‘Hey, can you record this?’,” he told Billboard magazine. What he recorded was a six-second clip of the chorus to Bieber’s As Long As You Love Me and it was an overnight hit with 10,000 likes. By October that year he had 200,000 followers. 
Weeks and months rolled by and he kept posting clips –– Ed Sheeran’s Give Me Love to Lana Del Rey’s Summertime Sadness. Before he could yawn for six seconds, he won Ryan Seacrest’s Best Cover Song contest (for A Great Big World’s Say Something) in April 2014 and met up with Ed… Sheeran of course… in LA.

Life Of The Party
He is living up to the title of his first big song, which dropped on June 26, 2014. Days after its release, he played a pop-up concert at Times Square and girls loved it. Several fan videos started showing up, like “Me Squeezing Shawn Mendes’ Butt”. Whoa! Coming back to the song, the lyrics are the stuff that makes wildcats out of girls: “We don’t have to be ordinary/ Make your best mistakes… Hearts are gonna break/ ’Cause we don’t have the time to be sorry/ So baby be the life of the party.”

A social animal
In other words, he is a social network guru! Bieber’s country mate (Canada for the uninitiated) has 980,674 subscribers on the YouTube channel, 3.03 million followers on Twitter, 2.8 million followers on Instagram and 3.9 million on Vine. 

In terms of his raw talent, I feel that he’s capable of growing in a way that Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran have grown –– David Massey, Island Record’s chief executive

The Taylor Swift connect
Signed to Island Records, a division of Universal Music, he will be an opening act on Taylor Swift’s world tour. You might know another person who had done the same in the past –– Ed Sheeran. David Massey, Island’s chief executive, recently told New York Times: “In terms of his raw talent, I feel that he’s capable of growing in a way that Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran have grown.” Last December, he attended her birthday party in New York. Some of the other guests were, well, Jay Z, Beyonce and Justin Timberlake. Nothing special, eh?!

And he is our Harry Puttar
His Twitter intro mentions “student at Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry”. ’Nuff said!

Full name: Shawn Peter Raul Mendes
Born: August 8, 1998
From: Pickering, Ontario, Canada
Label: Island Records
First break: A Vine video of him singing As Long As you Love Me
The big song: The 2014 single Life Of The Party
In news for: His new album, Handwritten, is #1 on US Billboard 200
Favourite food: Chinese and chocolate chip muffins
Allergic to: Mosquito bites
Dislikes: Tomatoes

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