Biography of Shawn Mendes

Canadian Teen Pop Star

Shawn Mendes
Shawn Mendes. Photo by Rich Polk / Getty Images

Shawn Mendes ( Born August 8, 1998 ) first gained attention posting six-second snippets of cover versions of songs on the social media application Vine. He then gained the attention of manager Andrew Gertler and the Island record label who signed him to a recording contract. Shawn Mendes' first album Handwritten was a #1 chart smash in 2015.

Early Years

Shawn Mendes was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

His mother is a real estate agent and his father sells restaurant supplies. His father is of Portuguese descent and his mother is English. Shawn Mendes attended the Pine Ridge Secondary School in Pickering, Ontario, Canada just to the east of Toronto. 

In 2013, Shawn Mendes first began posting videos on the social media application Vine. Within months, he gained millions of views. By his sixteenth birthday in 2014, he was the third-most-followed musician on Vine. He was first discovered by manager Andrew Gertler seven months earlier in January 2014. "Life Of the Party," the first Shawn Mendes single, was released in June 2014. It opened at #24 on the Billboard Hot 100 making Shawn Mendes, age 15, the youngest artist ever to debut inside the top 25.

Personal Life

Shawn Mendes remains close to his family despite his stardom. He has a younger sister named Aaliyah. In 2015, he was rumored to be dating Camila Cabello of the girl group Fifth Harmony.

They recorded the top 20 charting hit single "I Know What You Did Last Summer" together. In 2016, Shawn Mendes revealed that he did not have a girlfriend and explain in interviews the difficulty in maintaining romantic relationships as a pop star. He told Billboard magazine, "The second I feel about a girl the way I feel about music is when I know."


  • 2015 - Handwritten - Shawn Mendes put together his debut album as a follow-up to the self-titled EP which hit the top 5 on the Billboard album chart in July 2014. Critics considered his music to be influenced by both Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake. Handwritten included Shawn Mendes' breakthrough pop radio hit "Stitches." The album debuted at #1 on the album chart in April 2015 with first week sales totaling over 100,000 copies. A revised edition of Handwritten was released in November 2015 with four new songs and five live tracks.
  • 2016 - Illuminate - Expectations were very high for Shawn Mendes' second studio album. HIs music was slightly more adult in nature, but the nods to sexual content were still very subtle. The lead single "Treat You Better" was a hit, and Illuminate debuted at #1 on the album chart in September 2016. It sold more than 121,000 copies in its first week. Only four other artists - Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Hilary Duff, and LeAnn Rimes - have reached #1 on the album chart twice at age eighteen or younger.


  • 2014 - "Life Of the Party" - Shawn Mendes' first single "Life Of the Party" caused a sensation by debuting inside the top 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 at #24. The striking success was due to heavy sales to his legion of online fans. Mainstream pop radio failed to take notice, and the song soon faded from the pop chart.
  • 2015 - "Stitches" - By the time "Stitches" was released as the third single from the #1 charting album Handwritten, mainstream pop radio was forced to take notice of the strikingly popular teen artist. The song was co-written by former teen pop star Teddy Geiger and Danny Parker, best known for his work with Nick Jonas. "Stitches" was not an overnight success. It spent a month on Billboard's Bubbling Under chart before officially reaching the Hot 100. Nearly six months after it first appeared on charts, "Stitches" reached the top 10 ultimately peaking at #4. Ultimately, it spent a full year on the Billboard Hot 100.
  • 2016 - "Treat You Better" - Shawn Mendes collaborated again with Teddy Geiger on "Treat You Better," the first single from his second album Illuminate. The song was a quick success. It debuted inside the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100. Ultimately it peaked at #6, becoming Shawn Mendes' second biggest hit single. It also reached #1 on both the adult contemporary and adult pop radio charts. At mainstream pop radio, it peaked at #3.


    Shawn Mendes sees male pop stars Justin Timberlake, Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, and John Mayer as primary influences. He has been celebrated for his "good guy" approach to pop music creating a distinct niche for himself apart from the tabloid "bad boy" antics of Justin Bieber. In 2016, Shawn Mendes earned an American Music Award nomination for New Artist of the Year. In just three years, he has earned twelve Teen Choice Awards nominations. 

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    Your Citation
    Lamb, Bill. "Biography of Shawn Mendes." ThoughtCo, Feb. 8, 2017, Lamb, Bill. (2017, February 8). Biography of Shawn Mendes. Retrieved from Lamb, Bill. "Biography of Shawn Mendes." ThoughtCo. (accessed November 19, 2017).