Shawn Mendes covers Variety’s “Power of Young Hollywood” issue. Amandla Stenberg and Pete Davidson also have their own covers but right now, Shawn Mendes IS Young Hollywood. Not to diminish Amandla and Pete’s (lol) work but if we’re talking about power – among these three – Shawn has the most.
On Monday, Lainey wrote about Shawn’s confidence at the MMVAs. Shawn has held the attention of teens for years, since he was just an awkward teen himself, but now he’s commanding that attention. Now, he’s owning it. Ever since Shawn re-introduced himself on his latest album, he’s been positioning himself to lead his peers in the pop landscape. He’s doing it without trying to distance himself from the fans who put him there. In his Variety interview, Shawn talks about why meeting fans is an important part of his job.
“People forget how important groundwork is — physically being in every city, meeting people, like in a presidential campaign… I’ve known nothing but that since I was 15, so it’s not like I was at one time very private and now I have to be open. I’ve always been like that. I don’t find it hard or disruptive, and I think I’m OK with it — until I’m not, anyway.”
When have you ever heard an artist compare themselves to a politician? Remember when Justin Bieber cancelled all his meet and greets because of “spiritual energy?” I’m not knocking JB for preserving his mental health but the distance he put between himself and his fans was telling. For Shawn, he sees these interactions as work. He literally called it a “campaign.” That’s exactly what it is. Those fans he laid the “groundwork” with will stay loyal. They are why Shawn has so much power. And if you’ve seen him in action with those fans like I have, you know that he’s taking his power seriously.
One of the recurring themes in Shawn’s Variety feature is his work ethic. He hustles hard to stay close with the Mendes Army but he also is the guy who locks himself in his tour bus between shows practicing his guitar. When asked where that work ethic comes from, this was his answer:
“Insecurity of being not grounded? I have amazing parents and incredible friends, but just as much, it comes from being scared — fear of becoming the one thing everybody tells you not to be.”
Shawn Mendes’s biggest fear is losing his humility. I mean, that’s just about the sweetest thing a burgeoning pop icon could say. This kid is going to be around for a long time. The interest in his every move, including his dating life, is not going to fade any time soon. For now, Shawn is single.
“I’m not currently dating anyone, but it’s not because I don’t have time — I don’t know if I’d be dating anyone if I was home in Pickering, either… It hasn’t stumbled across me, and I’m not chasing it. Of course, seeing all those other artists and people in relationships, you think, ‘Maybe it would be nice; who would be great for me?’ And that’s when you realize: ‘This is wrong. Let it be. I’m not supposed to be with anyone right now.’”
Again, smart move. There’s no need for Shawn to rush into a relationship. And whatever he was doing with Hailey Baldwin did what it was supposed to do for his image as a grownup who dates. Now, he’s waiting for a real “someone” when the time is right. When that time comes, who *would* be great for Shawn? Any suggestions for the Gossip Genie?
For more of Shawn Mendes in Variety, click here.