Can you try to imagine a world without Shawn Mendes‘ beautiful voice in it?! Well, that was almost the case, you guys, because he just revealed that his crippling anxiety made him lose the ability to sing earlier this year, and that he almost quit making music forever.
“I had a moment at the end of January when my body would not allow me to sing,” the “In My Blood” crooner explained in a new interview with The Guardian. “I physically couldn’t sing because of my anxiety to have a successful album. The fear strangled me and literally stopped me being able to sing. It was a month before I felt like I was taking the first step. I really fell down. I came extremely close [to quitting the industry]. Extremely, extremely close. [But] I realized it’s not the industry, it’s the way I do the industry. I let the industry control what I do, rather than me controlling my life.”
Shawn Mendes Also Opened Up About Being Propelled Into The Spotlight At An Early Age
As fans know, the superstar first rose to fame back in 2013, after posting videos of himself singing on Vine. He was only 15 years old at the time, and he explained that gaining so much attention online at such a young age was definitely hard for him.
“I started playing music in front of an audience of the world at 15 years old. I was on the road for seven years straight and I had a lot of success, a lot of big songs, a lot of reasons for people to praise me and to think I was great, and a lot of reasons for me to think I was great,” he continued. “That’s where it gets stressful. All of that praise and all that success was turning into a big monster that was eating my self-confidence because, if anybody said they didn’t like my music, all of a sudden I felt I was worth nothing. And that’s what happens when you connect who you are with what you do.”
Mendes explained that he had trouble pleasing everyone, but that his girlfriend, Camila Cabello, helped balance him out.
“That’s the problem. That’s where you go into a complete meltdown, when you try to make something that’s impossible to make: something that the whole world likes,” he added. “[Cabello] believes more that your art is magical because some people believe it’s magical. Not everybody needs to believe it’s magical. She is not as obsessive as I am in that sense.”
Shawn Mendes Admitted That He Has Been Getting Therapy
While chatting with the outlet, the 22-year-old admitted that he decided to seek professional help, and that it helped changed his outlook a lot.
“It is a psychological head-f**k. It completely is, and that’s after three therapists and 55 self-help books plus meditation and exercise and life experience and all of the things I’ve been working through for the last year and a half,” he said. “When you have been given the wave, you have to ride it. If you asked 15-year-old Shawn what it is to be majorly successful, he would have said to have a couple of big songs and play shows in front of lots of people. Well I’ve had more than a couple of big songs and it is amazing, but happiness definitely isn’t spawned from that. Happiness is spawned from human connection and falling in love and being there for your sister’s birthday and having close friends, not just playing shows in front of 50,000 people. Happiness doesn’t lie at the end of a crazy long train ride. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to sell out a stadium. But now I understand that it doesn’t bring you fulfilment.”
Mendes explained that after he had so much anxiety over making his latest album, Wonder, which came out on December 4, 2020, he started to question everything.
“I asked myself: why is it so valuable to me to be such a successful musician? Is success just something that feeds my ego or is it really great? And I found it was something that was feeding my ego, and I just wasn’t going to feed that any more. The more success you have, the more fearful you are of losing it, so you become desperate,” he admitted. “Being famous is crazy, it’s absurd. Having millions of people worldwide praise you and paparazzi follow you and show up at your front door every day while you’re trying to have a coffee is ridiculous.”
Some Of The Songs On His New Album Are About The Downsides Of Fame
While much of the album was inspired by his relationship with Cabello, a few of the songs on Wonder are about the negative impacts of fame. Just take the track “Monster,” which features Justin Bieber, for example.
“You put me on a pedestal and tell me I’m the best / Raise me up into the sky until I’m short of breath (Yeah) / Fill me up with confidence, I say what’s in my chest / Spill my words and tear me down until there’s nothin’ left / Rearrange the pieces just to fit me with the rest, yeah,” the lyrics read. “But what if I, what if I trip? / What if I, what if I fall? / Then am I the monster? / Just let me know / And what if I, what if I sin? / And what if I, what if I break? / Yeah, then am I the monster? / Yeah, just let me know, yeah.”
While speaking to Zane Lowe after it came out, the musician got real about what the song meant to him.
“It’s about how society can put celebrities up on a pedestal and watch them fall and it seems to be this entertainment thing. And it’s hard. And [Bieber’s] heart fell deep into it. And him and I, even yesterday, were on the phone for an hour and had the deepest conversation, I think, about so much,” he explained.
“I was 15 when the world put me on a pedestal / I had big dreams of doin’ shows and making memories / Made some bad moves tryin’ to act cool, upset by their jealousy, uh / Liftin’ me up (Liftin’ me up), liftin’ me up (Yeah) / And tearin’ me down (Down), tearin’ me down (Down, down, yeah) / I’ll take responsibility for everything I’ve done (Yeah) / Holdin’ it against me like you’re the holy one (Yeah),” the song continues. “I had a chip on my shoulder, had to let it go / ‘Cause unforgiveness keeps them in control / I came in with good intentions, then I let it go / And now I really wanna know.”