Canadian born singer and songwriter Shawn Mendes initially rose to fame by performing covers. How much of the writing process did he contribute to when he transitioned to making original music?
Shawn Mendes has been credited with co-writing much of his body of original works. His involvement in the writing process would grow along with his aspirations as a musician.
Mendes is listed as a co writer on almost every single song on his debut album and on all songs on subsequent albums. With each studio album that the artist has released it would appear that he has involved himself more and more in the writing process, citing a variety of reasons and inspirations.
A Vine Star is Born
As previously mentioned, it was not a wholly original piece written by himself that had managed to catch the eye of the public and the hearts of fans. Instead, Shawn was performing covers of songs on the social media platform Vine, where he would accrue a large following.
Much of the musical content that Shawn would upload to Vine was short snippets of covers that he would perform, following the same blueprint for popularity that propelled teen singer sensation Justin Bieber into stardom.
Although Shawn was not writing his own work that would be released to the public, in an interview that he would later be part of, he claimed that his father advised him to begin writing his own songs if he was intent on pursuing a career in music, advice that he heeded.
It wasn’t long before his sensational Vine career would reach the attention of talent manager Andrew Gertler. It’s at this point that Gertler heard some of the songs that Mendes had written, after being witness to how emphatic the artist was with regards to the fact that he would be writing his own songs. After hearing these songs, Gertler noted that it stood out how “naturally talented” Mendes was.
Mendes’ Beginnings as a Songwriter
Mendes was co-writer on almost all of the songs on his debut album, and the two albums that would follow, Illuminate and self-titled Shawn Mendes. For the debut, one co-writer in particular would prove to be a mainstay for his co-writing team, Scott Harris. The songwriter of “Don’t Let Me Down” fame would form a solid relationship with Mendes.
In particular, Geoff Warburton spoke very highly of working together with Mendes. Warburton comments on the fact that seeing Mendes perform always felt right, and that he knew the young Canadian would find success with his music. As Mendes began to work on Handwritten, this intuition that Warburton had would prove itself to be correct, something that was immediately confirmed as they began working on some of the songs together. Not only was there an immediate click with their songwriting, the pair formed a friendship.
On the second album Illuminate, Mendes has expanded on his thoughts and feelings with regards to the writing. In an interview, the aspect of the songwriting that Mendes touched on most heavily was writing love songs and the difficulty he finds in the introspection required to transpose both a story or an experience into writing for a song.
A Reliable Team
As both Mendes and his music would continue to mature, so would his songwriting. Over the time he spent producing Illuminate, he would amass a list of co-writers that he had worked together with, which would eventually be consolidated down to a team of regulars, consisting of Mendes himself, Warburton, Scott Harris and Teddy Geiger. Many of Mendes’ best successes came with this lineup of usual suspects on his songwriting team.
Mendes’ other largest co-writing success came when he worked together with Charli XCX, Camila Cabello and various other co-writers to create runaway hit Senorita. Charli XCX in particular had great praise for both Mendes and his duet partner Cabello, commenting on the high standard of songwriting that they brought to the table for the project.
Inspiration and Role Models
One of Mendes’ role models both as a musician and a songwriter is John Mayer. Many of the lessons that Mendes has learned in his journey as a performer and writer have been intricately weaved together with the blooming friendship he experienced with Mayer. Mayer reciprocates the admiration whole-heatedly, expressing how impressed he has been with the way that Mendes has attempted to further hone his skills.