At only 19 years old, Shawn Mendes is taking over the music world one album at a time. His debut record Handwritten landed at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 following its release in 2014, and his sophomore effort Illuminate subsequently followed the feat, arriving atop the albums chart in 2016. Now, Mendes returns with this third self-titled album, which has dropped in full today (May 25).
In an exclusive clip in partnership with Pandora, Mendes gets candid about his complete album process, including how different genres influenced his sound and why he is showing a new level authenticity on this record.
“A big thing happened to me during this album process. I started realizing that genre walls are broken down,” the singer-songwriter says.
“I was thinking, what do I want the album to feel like? The main thing was rock. Ok, I wanted to go rock…a] Kings Leon feel. The next day, I woke up and I had this urge to go R&B. And it was weird because at first I was like, ‘Am I screwing up cohesiveness an album? Is this bad to do?' I realize that it’s not about the genre the song anymore. People don’t care about the genre. If it’s a good song, it’s a good song.”
In the clip, where he can be seen strumming the acoustic guitar, the pop star also reveals that he battled with anxiety for the first time and coped with it by channeling it out in his music.
“About a year prior was my first time kind experiencing anxiety and I wrote down in my notes the feelings exactly what was going on because I wanted to make a song about that,” the Canadian singer admits. “And it came out, and friends and family and people and fans were] saying, ‘This is what I needed. Thank you so much for being this honest.' After that, I was just so excited for everything ‘cause I took that same honest approach through all the music.”
The growth and evolution the pop artist is apparent with his latest music, seeing that even the lead single “In My Blood” touches on his feelings trepidation (“I'm looking through my phone again, feeling anxious/Afraid to be alone again, I hate this/I'm trying to find a way to chill, can't breathe”). The 19-year-old was conscious that this particular song would show a more honest side himself — one that would demonstrate his true vulnerability, and overall pro, that at his age now, he has so much more to say.
For more on Mendes' self-titled album, watch the full clip below.
Stream 'Shawn Mendes' on Pandora here.