On Dec. 4, 2020, hitmaker Shawn Mendes released "Wonder," his fourth studio album. In honor of its debut, Wonderwall.com is sharing a few things you might not know (but should!) about the Grammy-nominated artist. Keep reading for more…
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Shawn Mendes was born on Aug. 8, 1998, in Pickering, Ontario, Canada. That's right, the crooner is a Canadian boy, though he has international roots: His mother is from England and his father is from Portugal. Shawn loves his native country and in 2019, he partnered with popular Canadian fast food chain Tim Hortons. "I'm so excited to launch this incredible campaign with Tim Hortons in celebration of my homecoming Toronto show. Tims has been a part of my life since before I can remember and I'm so proud to share my love for this Canadian tradition," he said. Another super-Canadian fact about Shawn? He's an avid hockey fan — he played as a kid — and has been spotted at Toronto Maple Leafs games.
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Remember when Vine was still a thing? It all started back in 2013 when Shawn Mendes posted a cover of fellow Canadian Justin Bieber's track "As Long as You Love Me" on the now-defunct short-form video sharing platform. The clip garnered an impressive 10,000 likes the following day, which led Shawn to continue to post clips of himself covering popular songs. By August 2014, Shawn had become the third most followed musician on the app.
In June 2014, two months shy of his 16th birthday, Shawn Mendes released his first single, "Life of the Party." The debut track, which was featured on "The Shawn Mendes EP," went on to appear on his first studio album, "Handwritten," in 2015. "Life of the Party," which was certified platinum by the RIAA in the United States, debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at No. 24, making Shawn the youngest artist to ever debut in the top 25 with a debut track.
Shawn Mendes is also a passionate philanthropist. In 2019, he launched The Shawn Mendes Foundation, which focuses exclusively on causes that pertain to adolescents. "For a long time, I've wanted to find a way to amplify the causes that my fans and I care deeply about, and to help make the voices of our generation heard. My goal in launching the foundation is to work alongside my fans, and do everything I can to help provide them with a platform that inspires positive change, and empowers young change-makers," he said. Early on in the coronavirus pandemic, The Shawn Mendes Foundation donated $175,000 to Toronto's SickKids Foundation to provide "urgent screening and prevention" concerning COVID-19.
The start of it all! On April 14, 2015, Shawn Mendes released his debut studio album, "Handwritten," which featured the singles "Life of the Party," "Something Big," "Stitches" and "I Know What You Did Last Summer." The album went on to become a commercial success — it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, making him the youngest artist to have an album in the chart's top spot in almost five years. The pop star who previously held that record? None other than fellow Canadian crooner Justin Bieber, who earned it with his debut studio album, "My World 2.0."
It didn't take long for Shawn Mendes to go from Vine sensation to full-fledged successful solo artist. One of his first stints on tour was opening for Taylor Swift on the North American leg of her 2015 "The 1989 World Tour." Shawn told Time 100 in 2019 of working with Taylor, "I've been a Taylor Swift fan for as long as I can remember. But it wasn't until I met and got to know her that I understood how wonderful a person she truly is." He continued, "I was so lucky to be able to open for a handful of her stadium shows on the '1989 World Tour.' And I quickly learned that the magic of Taylor Swift doesn't come from the lights, dancers or fireworks… but from the electrifying connection that she has with the people who are there to see her."
While it often feels like celebrities lead lives so disparate from our own, Shawn Mendes has been outspoken about the fact that everything isn't as perfect as it seems. In 2018, the Canadian pop star opened up about coping with anxiety. "Talking about the problem, putting it out there, was one of the scariest but most important things I've ever done," he told People magazine. In fact, Shawn's Grammy-nominated track "In My Blood" was inspired by his battle with anxiety. Therapy, according to Shawn, has helped him cope. "Therapy is what works for you… climbing a mountain," he told The Sun in 2018. "Therapy is listening to music and running on the treadmill, therapy is going to dinner with your friends — it's something that distracts you, that helps you heal and so it just depends on what you think therapy is."
Shawn Mendes kicked off 2016 with a modeling contract, signing with Wilhelmina Models. The agency represents numerous celebrities including Nick Jonas, Demi Lovato and Billie Eilish. In 2018, Shawn was announced as an ambassador for Emporio Armani — he was later named the face of their watch campaign and even walked the runway for their spring/summer 2018 show during Milan Fashion Week. A year later in 2019, Shawn landed his first campaign for Calvin Klein, which, of course, sent social media into an absolute frenzy. As of November 2020, photos from the campaign had garnered more than 8.6 million likes on his Instagram page.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, Shawn Mendes has become a bona fide heartthrob. In 2018, he was romantically linked to model Hailey Bieber — they even hit the Met Gala red carpet together. The pair, however, maintained that they were just friends and Hailey, of course, went on to marry a different Canadian pop star — Justin Bieber — just a couple months later. As for who Shawn's leading lady is nowadays? It's singer Camila Cabello, whom he began dating in July 2019. The pop stars met in 2014, collaborated on music and have since sparked a storybook romance.
In October 2019, Shawn Mendes broke the Billboard record for most adult pop songs to hit No. 1 by a solo male artist thanks to the success of his track "Señorita" featuring girlfriend Camila Cabello. It was his sixth No. 1 single, which surpassed Ed Sheeran's record of five. Shawn and Camila are seen here performing the record-breaking hit at the 2019 American Music Awards.
Since breaking onto the scene in 2014, Shawn Mendes has worked with artists like Julia Michaels, Taylor Swift, Camila Cabello and — in 2020 — Justin Bieber. Shawn and Justin, released the collaboration "Monster" in November 2020, are seen here performing their song during the 2020 American Music Awards.
It's no surprise that Shawn Mendes is a hopeless romantic, but he made that especially clear when he revealed in his 2020 documentary "In Wonder" who inspired his hit single "Treat You Better." In the doc, Shawn recalls Camila Cabello's reaction to finding out that the track was written about her! "Yeah, it's about you. Everything's about you. They've always been about you," Shawn told her of "Treat You Better" and other songs he's penned. He continued, "I'm rhyming off the songs, 'Treat You Better,' all these songs. She's like, 'Oh my god.' She literally had no idea."
By 22, Shawn already had an impressive list of award nominations (and wins!) to his name. He's been nominated for three Grammys: two in 2019 for best pop vocal album for "Shawn Mendes" and song of the year for "In My Blood," and one in 2020 for best pop duo/group performance for "Señorita" with Camila Cabello.
Celebrities are known to have some pretty peculiar collections, but Shawn Mendes's seems quite fitting given his profession! The self-taught guitarist is an avid guitar collector. As for how large his collection has grown? "How many guitars do I have? Way too many for how long I've been collecting guitars," he told GQ in 2018. "I have like, 35 or 40 guitars, which is a lot of guitars for like, only three [or] four years of collecting."
From covering songs by his favorite artists to befriending them and collaborating with them, Shawn Mendes' rise to stardom seems like a dream come true. According to the singer-songwriter, his idols include Ed Sheeran, Elton John, Taylor Swift and John Mayer. "Mayer is such an incredible person to idolize," Shawn told Variety in 2018, "because he had an entire fanbase when he was young, but now he's 40 and all those people still love him but his music has transcended time and generations. It's so impressive to be able to do that — to become something different without losing those people."