He’s 22, he’s from Pickering, Ontario and he’s a wonder. Shawn Mendes, singer of pop, folk-pop and pop rock, came up via Vine posts a mere seven years ago. Today he’s a global star, with 114 music awards, 26M Twitter followers and 57 million on Instagram. Wonder, Mendes’ fourth studio album Wonder drops Dec 4. And Netflix’ documentary Sam Mendes: in Wonder, directed by Grant Singer looks at the man behind the fame and the numbers. Mendes shared with What She Said that experience of making the film was profound, that it helped him know himself better. Here’s what he said.
It’s really precious being 20 years old, it is a precious moment in anybody’s life. I’m not that I’m all wise now when I’m 22, but if you’re capturing someone when they’re 20 years old, you can capture something that is the birth of an adult and someone releasing someone who they are.
The documentary is a constant thing of me reflecting on trying to figure out who I am and how I want to do it that it really could have just been about success or fame or my relationship, it could have been about a lot of what media wants to talk about but I felt like it was really more so just about a 20 year old guy who also happens to be a famous musician.
I can’t imagine what it will be like to look back at this in 30 years, but I can imagine it will be breathtaking for me. it’s not easy to catch a pattern of a person. Its ow been a couple months, I’m making an album meeting Grant and its my first time in Sao Paolo. It’s been a couple months now, but I really am seeing how much pressure I put on myself. I’m like, man I have to give myself a break, dude, you’ve gotta take a break and it was kind of beautiful and I have a love and respect for myself that I only got because of the film and it was really interesting, A lot of people get to see home videos but no one gets to see fully directed edited and produced Netflix doc of themselves. It’s a weird feeling and a special one.
It was just Grant; it was meant to be. We didn’t have to talk about boundaries because we just had trust. It was helpful I felt like we’d settle in for a therapy session when it was just a conversation. Ok so what is going on now, how do I feel, like it was my moment, you were filming while we were figuring out what was going on in our lives. I’ve been doing interviews since I’m fifteen, and they always ask how I feel, and I go on autopilot every single time.
Also found that there were times in my life when I was consumed by my success and how many followers and how many likes my photos would get, and I started to identify with my success rather than who I am as a person, especially in the midst of that documentary. You can feel the pressure I put on myself. I’m like Dude, take a deep breath, it’s going to be okay. Celebrities and musicians sometimes feel the world is revolving around us, but its human, its interesting. Having conversations with wise people is my favourite thing to do in my off time and I think it helps me figure out who I want to be and who I am.
The process of trying to find the version of me that I wanted everybody to see would be a horrible film. I had to really trust Grant and editor Andrew working so hard to make a correct portrait of me, that’s all I can do, and that’s still all I can do, trust that it’s me. When I watch myself say weird things maybe I didn’t have to go there but…