20 year old singer/songwriter, Shawn Mendes, started his career in 2013 on Vine and has now performed 3 world tours. All three of Mendes’ albums were atop the US Billboard 200, making him one of five artists to debut at number one before the age of 18, as well as the third-youngest artist to achieve three #1 albums. His three albums include ‘Handwritten’, ‘Illuminate’, and ‘Shawn Mendes’. You may recognize some of Mendes’ hit songs, such as “Stitches” and “Treat You Better”.
Mendes’ newest album, “Shawn Mendes”, has now captured a lot of attention, as has been a place for Mendes to open up about his anxiety. In an interview with Beats 1, he says, “Growing up, I was a pretty calm kid. I knew people who suffered from anxiety, found it kind of hard to understand, and then when it hits you, you’re like, ‘oh my god, this is crazy.’” Anxiety is the number one mental illness in the U.S., with about 18% of people ages 18 or older affected. You, your peers, or even superstars like Shawn Mendes face anxiety, yet only 36% of people who have it receive treatment. In Mendes’ interview with The Sun, he explains that therapy has helped him with his anxiety, but emphasizes that therapy is defined differently for everyone – “Therapy is listening to music and running on the treadmill, therapy is going to dinner with your friends - it’s something that distracts you.” Mendes goes further to say he tries to make a conscious effort to be more connected and open to his friends and family, which has helped him to understand what he is feeling.
Although most of Mendes’ songs in his first two albums are centered around relationships and romance, the experiences he drew from were very ambiguous. However, his self-titled 2018 album brings something different. His song ‘In My Blood’ contains emotional lyrics, including: “Help me, it’s like the walls are caving in. Sometimes I feel like giving up, no medicine is strong enough, someone help me, I’m crawling in my skin.” Mendes focuses on something more real, truthful, and vulnerable. The beginning of the song is raw and emotional, but the chorus is so powerful– “Sometimes I feel like giving up, but I just can’t, It isn’t in my blood.” Mendes brings more light to mental health issues and the strength, not weakness, required to deal with it. Refusing to give into the doubts, ‘In My Blood’ is inspirational and a realistic depiction of those who are stuck on a path of depression and anxious thoughts.
Shawn Mendes is only 20 years old and has so much more ahead of him, but what’s most impressive is his realization that making meaningful relationships with those around him are critical. Anxiety can be damaging to your mental health, but finding what makes you happy, not to just cope with anxiety but to face it head on, is something he shares with the world. Music has the ability to transcend boundaries of race, religion, culture, and status, and that’s exactly what Shawn is doing. Through his songs, he is able to share a part of himself with a vulnerability in which people feel his emotions, creating a sense of unity.