When the world shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, the music industry was put on pause. Thankfully, Shawn Mendes found a way to use his free time to be creative, and thus, making a whole album.
The star chatted with Zane Lowe on Apple Music about his project, Wonder, set to drop on December 4 and how quarantining in Miami with girlfriend Camila Cabello helped soothe him. “The pandemic that’s happening and the isolation and the quarantine has been terrifying and really hard, but something really beautiful for me came out of it, which was, you’re not allowed to leave. Stillness,” he explained. “I went to Miami and I was living with Camila and her parents and her sister. And I was in panic for the first week being like, ‘There’s no way I’m going to make an album.; And then when I started to settle in to how nice it is to be in the same place every night, to have a movie time, to cook dinner with her family and to do laundry. I know it all sounds really silly, but when you’ve been touring the world since you were 15 years old, I don’t remember the last time I smelled laundry. It’s a nice smell. It’s a really calming smell.”
“It feels like growing up. That stillness brought a lot of anxiety to the surface that I had to work through,” he continued. “And on the other side of that was a real reflective period for me, where I could be like, ‘Oh, this is what I’ve been doing. This is crazy. This is what I can do. This is art. This is bigger than me.’ It was the first time I had a chance to even think about someone more than me. It was the first time I had enough space in my heart and my head that wasn’t so consumed about how many people were caring about what I was doing or how many, whatever, likes, streams, whatever you want to call it.”
“And that was the best gift I think I’ve ever, ever been given in my whole life,” Mendes concluded. “And that’s what’s really spawned songs like ‘Wonder,’ and the whole album to an extent, but especially songs like ‘Wonder.’ It was completely spawned from that reflective moment. And something that’s a really big thing that I’ve been thinking about is everyone’s got to give themselves a little bit of credit, because there’s so much input happening at all times, news and so much input happening, and it’s really hard to settle down and to just be like, ‘Well, how do I actually feel about this? My truth, what is my truth about this?’ And it takes work and it takes time and it’s tough. And I think that when I found this moment of stillness and clarity, I was like, ‘Oh, this is really what it means to be close to yourself.'”
Mendes’ personal growth also helped his relationship with Cabello. “You can not be the best version of a son or a brother or a boyfriend or a friend to anybody if you’re not constantly there for you, and you’re watching out for you and you’re checking in on your heart and your space and your energy,” he explained. “And the closer you get to that clarity and that freedom within you, the more space you have for everybody else in your life. And I think that that was something that really happened over that period too, especially with Camila and I, is that we started giving ourselves a lot more time, which then allowed us to give everything more time and space, if that makes sense.”
Listen to the full interview below.