APRIL 22: Shawn Mendes’ “Handwritten” is number 1 everywhere even Billboard. He sold 117,365 copies of “Handwritten” including streaming and downloading. He’s the youngest pop star to hit number 1 in a debut since Justin Bieber. He’s also the first star born from social media.
APRIL 16: Shawn Mendes will not turn 17 until August. That means at a solid 16, he’s number 1 today on iTunes and most certainly on Billboard when the albums are counted next week. His first album, “Handwritten,” was released on Tuesday by Universal Music.
Mendes is many things including the better Bieber. He’s tall, for one thing. For another, he really plays and writes. I actually saw him at a showcase last winter in New York. His audience is, like Bieber’s, screaming teenage girls.
Any other differences? His songs are catchy and original. He can play an acoustic set for hours. Call him a junior James Taylor. The worst thing that could happen to him is being infected by song “teams” and collaborators, production groups that turn his music into the same pap churned out by everyone else. At the moment, he’s still original.
He’s also polite and self effacing. He nice parents, from Toronto. This summer, Mendes will really blow up when he goes on tour with Taylor Swift. Yes, in this case, Taylor would be a cougar! Hopefully, she’ll just be a good friend and mentor. She did that for Ed Sheeran, and look where he is now.
How did Mendes do it? Really, social media. He’s part of a vast network of Vine and YouTube stars who the teens are creating on their own. It’s a whole teen subculture. Grace Helbig, about to have a talk show on the E! channel, is one of them. And more are coming, in droves.