In an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, the Canadian pop star talked about loving the Colombian artist’s original song and DMing him about hopping on the remix. Mendes mused about how he understood the sentiments behind the song despite the language barrier, saying, “It reminded me so much of why I fell in love with music in the first place, writing music in the first place. And in a completely different language, I was getting the feeling from him so deeply.”
When Mendes wanted to contribute a verse, Camilo felt honored that he wanted to contribute not just to the song but also to the culture. “Just the idea of Shawn singing in Spanish is something that brings me so much joy and excitement,” he said, adding, “Shawn singing in Spanish sounds real.”
And it sounded real because Mendes’ girlfriend and fellow pop star Cabello became his bonafide Spanish language coach for the song. The couple didn’t sing in Spanish together when Cabello and Mendes collaborated on their Latin pop smash “Señorita,” which went No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 two summers ago. But she certainly taught him a thing or two before he sang on the “Kesi” remix.
“To be fair, not everybody has a Cuban Mexican girlfriend who sits in the studio with them making sure they’re saying every word perfectly. She was like, ‘If you’re going to do this, you got to do it right. You can’t be saying these words wrong.’ And I was like, ‘OK,'” Mendes told Lowe. “It took me hours to get the words right, though. I could not mess that up. It was going to ruin our relationship if I said, if there was one … I remember there was one word and I was like, ‘I think it’s fine.’ And she’s like, ‘It’s not fine.’ And she’s like, ‘It’s not fine.’ And I’m like, ‘OK, it’s not fine. I believe you.'”
Listen to the “Kesi” remix below.