A year ago, Pickering, Ontario native Shawn Mendes was just an average teenager with an interest in music. Then, last August, he posted a six-second clip of himself singing Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me” on the video-snippet-sharing service Vine. By the next day, he was an Internet star, thanks to the 10,000-plus followers he amassed overnight.
Now, he has nearly 3 million followers and has embarked on a more traditional musical career path, signing with Universal Music Group subsidiary Island Records. In late June he released his first single, “Life of the Party,” a piano-driven power ballad with an unexpectedly mature vibe that immediately went to the top of the iTunes singles chart.
Just after “Life of the Party” was released EW got on the phone with him to talk about Vine, YouTube, stage fright, and his sudden rise to fame.