The landscape of music continues to change and the avenues that people traditionally used to get into the music industry are becoming less prominent or important. More and more people who wish to get into the music industry no longer need to hope that they are randomly noticed by a record label or a talent scout while gigging in a random pub in their hometown. More and more artists are finding an entrance door into the industry through alternative means, such as social media or self-produced videos and demos.
One of the people who proves just how powerful these formats can be when you are trying to launch your career is the Canadian singer/songwriter, Shawn Mendes. As a 13 year old, Mendes began learning how to play guitar by watching YouTube tutorial videos and within a year he was posting cover videos on the now defunct social media video app, Vine. Immediately, he starting generating huge views and followers.
The hype that he generated on the social media site would eventually lead to him getting noticed by the artist manager, Andrew Gertler, who would sign him to Island Records in early 2014. The Canadian would go on to release his debut single in June of that same year, Life of the Party. This track would also see him become the youngest person to ever debut on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Mendes would spend the next year or so touring with other YouTubers, as well as Austin Mahone, and would even get a feature slot on the September 2014 single by the British pop band, The Vamps, Oh Cecilia (Breaking My Heart), which would come from the debut album by the band, Meet The Vamps.
April 2014 would see the release of the first full-length LP from the Canadian singer/songwriter, Handwritten, which immediately debuted at no. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. The album would spawn the single, Stitches, in May 2015. This would prove to be somewhat of a breakthrough song for the artist reaching various top 10s across Canada and America, as well as reaching no. 1 in the UK charts. 2015 would also see the teen feature as the opening act on the American dates of Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour, which would result in even more exposure for the artist.
Away from music scene, the star of Mendes was gaining serious traction. 2016 would see the Canadian make his acting debut in The 100, The CW television series, as well as getting signed to the Wilhelmina Models modelling agency. As well as this, Mendes would announce his second world tour and would see all the Northern American and European dates sell out within minutes.
June 2016 would see the release of the lead single from his second studio album, Treat You Better. Again this would be a massive commercial success for the band and would see his music reach yet more people. It would be followed in September by the album itself, Illuminate, and again this album would debut at no. 1 on the Billboard 200 in America. The album marked a new direction for the music of the singer/songwriter with a more softer rock sound seeming to permeate the songs. The success of the album would see another World Tour by the artist sell out around the world, as well getting him an invitation to be the musical guest on an episode of Saturday Night Live in early December 2016.
April 2017 would see the release of the third single off the Illuminate EP, There’s Nothing Holding Me Back. Another commercial success for the artist, it remains my favourite song from Mendes and was easily one of the songs of 2017. An positive upbeat pop hit, it would go on to dominate the summer radio waves.
Shawn Mendes is proof that there is plenty of opportunities for artists to get discovered and achieve success if they are talented enough and are willing to work hard enough.
There’s Nothing Holding Me Back!