‘Just a guy who likes music’

Shawn Mendes shows his vulnerability through new documentary

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Mendes pictured in the crowd surrounded by his fans. A total of 105 shows were apart of “Shawn Mendes: The Tour.”

Starting at a young age, Shawn Mendes wanted to be a singer, and everyone from his family and friends to his vocal teacher believed in him. Without encouragement from his family and friends, Mendes probably wouldn’t have been as willing to go for such a big dream or even end up making a documentary, titled “Shawn Mendes: In Wonder.” 

After watching his documentary detailing his tour in 2019, Shawn Mendes: The Tour, and the making of his new album “Wonder,” my eyes were opened to Mendes’s raw vulnerability and emotion, which helps his fans and me connect to him as a celebrity and human being. 

A highlight of the documentary was the lead-up and filming of show 77 of 105, one of his most important shows. This was the performance at Rogers Centre in Toronto, close to his hometown. It was sentimental to watch because it made me feel very proud of him and his accomplishments, even though I do not know him personally. With this being one of Mendes’s dreams when he was younger, I felt very inspired that he was finally living it out. He made me feel like I could do the same.

One thing throughout the movie that stood out to me was the relationship between Mendes and his girlfriend, fellow singer and songwriter Camilla Cabello. It is shared that Mendes and Cabello knew each other many years before dating, but the feelings were there long before becoming a couple. Mendes says how all of his songs are about Cabello and says “everything is about you, they’ve always been about you” when talking to his girlfriend about his songs.

Watching their relationship unfold and being brought into his world of sharing an apartment and trying to have a normal life with his girlfriend was beautiful. It is obvious that the love they have for each other is pure. And the fact that they get to perform songs together makes it even better. 

As his tour went on, though, the reality set in that eventually damage would be done to his voice if he kept performing at such a high intensity. On show 95, his voice was pretty much gone with the possibility of long-term damage. His doctors decided it would be best if he didn’t perform. With this all happening, he had no other choice but to cancel his show in Brazil. Not only were the fans devastated, but he broke down in tears after hearing he could not perform. To me, it was very powerful for Mendes to open up and show his emotional side, and it really made me feel for him seeing how hurt he was.

His mom and Cabello were there to comfort him, and it reminded me of how real Mendes is. Although he seems like an untouchable celebrity, he’s a lot like the rest of us. He needed his mom in a difficult time, just like the rest of us. 

The “heaviness” of his tour made him want to change things up, to become more positive. Wanting to change things for himself was really important because he influenced his fans to do the same thing. Although they were devastated, they still showed up in massive crowds in the streets to chant about their undying love for Mendes. It was beautiful to see that so many people cared about a celebrity, even when he had to cancel a show they probably paid hundreds of dollars for. 

After this, the documentary focused a lot on Mendes’s mental health. Regarding his anxiety, he tells the camera and his audience that he is writing about it as a friend he lives with, rather than an enemy. I love this motivation he gives, and although he says it for himself, his wise words will help so many people in the long run. 

At first I didn’t know much about who he was as an artist or person, but this documentary opened my eyes to see who Mendes is at his core. I don’t feel like he is only this huge celebrity everyone sees him to be but also someone honest and realistic about his life and his struggles. It makes me feel connected to Mendes by him showing us how he’s just a normal person like everyone else.

“I’m just a guy, and I like music.”  Mendes said.