SHAWN MENDES REMINISCES ON HEARTBREAK AND MOVING ON WITH “WHEN YOU’RE GONE”

Shawn Mendes is only 23-years-old, but he’s already lived like some of the greatest music legends. The Canadian-born singer-songwriter had his breakout at the tender age of 18, is the youngest male musical artist to top the U.S. Billboard 200 with all four of his albums, has cross-generational appeal with teens and adults alike — and managed to be in a long-term relationship with an equally-huge pop star, Camila Cabello. Fittingly, it is the recent breakup of that relationship that inspired Shawn Mendes’ latest single and music video, “When You’re Gone.”

“When You’re Gone” premiered in March at SXSW in Austin, TX — a backdrop that provides the basis for the song’s music video. The first half is shot in beautiful black-and-white, showing Shawn and his accompanying musicians practicing on-stage before anyone else has arrived. Mendes seems to go through the motions of rehearsing the song during sound checks, while fans line up outside with signs and big smiles. Halfway through, the video changes to full-colour as Mendes performs to said adoring fans — just as the sound swells, the vocals peak and the emotions hit their highest.

The pop-rock track follows Mendes’ single from the end of 2021, “It’ll Be Okay,” which touched on the similar topic of his and Camila’s breakup. But here, there’s a bit more introspection, a little more hope. There’s no doubt to the meaning of lyrics like, “I need to learn how to cope without you / I’m tryna protect myself but only you know how to,” or, “Starting to feel like you don’t need me / Wanna believe it’s all for the better / It’s getting real, I’m missing you deeply.” In fact, Mendes wants listeners to see this still-recovering side of him:

I want [the song] to be put under a microscope. I want people to think about what it means, and think about how it affects them, and how it relates to them. That’s the whole entire point of making music, in my opinion, is to have people get closer to the song and the meaning.

There is much to Shawn Mendes’ music aside from his astronomical success and public relationship. He is still clearly hurting from the latter, but it’s his continuing strides in the former that will make him a staple of music for the far future — and ensure that, even during our saddest heartbreaks, we can know everything will be okay. Shawn Mendes will be on tour, backed by Dermot Kennedy and Tate McRae, between June 27th and October 26th to support his 2020 studio album, Wonder. Take a listen to his newest single, “When You’re Gone,” and watch the music video below!

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