Shawn Mendes performed at the Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood for a small crowd at the SiriusXM exclusive subscriber event Friday (July 13).
Listeners were treated to live renditions Mendes’ songs from his latest, self-titled studio album. After taking the stage with a 10-track setlist, SiriusXM hosts Michael Yo, Tony Fly and Symon joined the artist for a Q&A session where he fered insight into who keeps him humble and what his day f looks like.
The listener event only brought the biggest fans to its small quarters. Two excited girls were showing f their SiriusXM meet-and-greet pictures with Mendes beforehand to their accompanying fathers, as the exclusive concert doubled as a family-friendly affair. Once doors opened for the line people trailing down Sunset Boulevard, concertgoers entered the smoky theater accented by electric blue lights from both corners the stage, which was suitable mood lighting for an intimate evening music.
Mendes kicked f his show with a sizzling performance “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back.” Scintillating lights covered the room as a neon rose light at the back the stage sported a blue hue, deflowering first timers at a Mendes show. He grabbed some hands from the first row — and stole some hearts, per usual — and captured Avril Lavigne’s attention, as the “Complicated” singer posted on her Instagram story a video Mendes’ performance.
He carried a shrill voice for the chorus “Nervous,” his next song, to imitate the feeling it emphasizes, but the 19-year-old singer is a pressional by now. Shawn Mendes is his third studio album to go No. 1 on the Billboard 200, following Handwritten in 2015 and Illuminate in 2016. As the stage remained illuminated with the color-changing neon rose light in the back, and dazzling white lights across the ceiling for “Lost in Japan,” Mendes knew how to captivate his crowd.
He transported us from California to Japan, perfecting the last few runs his performance with a rumbling bass that shook the earth no matter where exactly we were on it. And after the shrieks from fans singing “Stitches” back at Mendes reverberated throughout the theater, his rendition “Youth” — which features Khalid on the ficial track, but he was not present — was hit with a st, but powerful impact. Mendes later petitioned the crowd to be completely quiet so he could sing the chorus without his microphone, and it was as if you could hear a pin drop, if you dare disturb his beautiful moment.
Mendes later covered Frank Ocean’s “Thinking Bout You” on a piano for a sultry number. An electric guitar being played by one his band members added to the spectacle, as the guitarist later spiced it up to bring on more shrieks from the room. His last song, “In My Blood,” provided the perfect segue into the Q&A session by SiriusXM with its raw honesty: Mendes isn't just about cheeky, feel-good-forever pop.
He told Billboard in an interview last March that “In My Blood” explores his first experience with anxiety. Mendes goes through the giving up process during the song, but prevails in an ultimate “payf” when the verses ramped up into a power-thirsty chorus during last night's rendition. But what Mendes truly thirsts for is to learn more, something he learned from one his mentors, John Mayer.
“No matter how good you are, you never know everything,” Mendes told the SiriusXM hosts during the Q&A. “It’s crazy being in the room with him, who I consider one the greatest guitar players all time. He really wants to learn, and I think that’s so incredible.”
Taylor Swift taught him a similar lesson: “No matter how successful you are, you could be playing stadiums across the world, that doesn’t mean you have to stop working — that means you have to work harder.” Another friend whom he trusts for advice? Camila Cabello. “She’s just a great friend, and I really trust her opinion when it comes to music,” he said.
He cites his mother as someone he comes to with new music and to keep him grounded. But Mendes isn’t about to forget where’s he from or that he’s a 19-year-old boy who loves video games and Netflix as much as the rest us. Aside from being in L.A. for parts the songwriting process, he went home to Toronto for a while. “To me, it was just about being really honest and authentic with the music and next leveling my music by being truthful,” he told the SiriusXM hosts. When it comes to Canada, Justin Bieber, Drake and Alessia Cara are his biggest music influences.
When asked about what he does in his free time, he asked right back, “What do you do? What do normal people do?” Whether its video games or Netflix, he’s down to relax just as much as the next person — but don’t ask a room full girls if he wants to Netflix and chill. He likes his peace and quiet, especially in the bathroom (“Bathrooms are good for writing songs.”). Mendes likes fame when it comes to doing what he loves for so many people. It’s not something he’s let overcome him.