Shawn Mendes is young but he’s already a seasoned vet in the music industry.
The musician is currently in the middle of his Illuminate World Tour, after his 2015 hit single “Stitches” shot to the top of Billboard‘s Hot 100. The singer was also recently nominated for his first MTV Video Music Award, plus he’ll perform on the show. And while most people his age are busy prepping for college, Mendes is instead touring around the world and performing with one of his idols, John Mayer.
Back in April, the two performed together at Mayer’s concert in Toronto, collaborating on a duet mash-up of Mendes’ “Mercy” and Mayer’s “In Your Atmosphere.” Since their initial connection a year ago, Mayer has become a mentor to Mendes, helping him both personally and professionally navigate fame.
“ was obviously incredible. As a person I really relate to him and I think he’s awesome,” Mendes says, noting that the musician, 39, has the ability to calm him down. “He’s a dude I can call — for him to be like, ‘Hey man, how’s life? You’re gonna be fine.’ And my anxiety levels down to a one instead of a 55. That’s something that’s really nice.”
Mendes, who turns 19 Tuesday, has publicly acknowledged Mayer as one of his musical influences in the past. Getting the opportunity to work together was very exciting for Mendes, but it also left him feeling inspired for the future.
“It’s cool to be able to see someone like him be so creatively inspired after so many albums and after so much touring,” he says. “It gets me so excited to know that I can always be this pumped up — and you only get better, because Mayer has only got better.”
The Illuminate World Tour, which began in April, is only the third tour Mendes has been on in his professional career but the “Mercy” singer feels like he has learned a great deal about balance while traveling.
“It’s taught me how to be away from home, how to be my own person on the road, how to spend time with people,” Mendes —who’s just introduced his first fragrance, Shawn Mendes Signature — says. “And also, at the end of the night, I have time for myself and I don’t go crazy but also have fun and work.”
And while the musician will be busy touring for the next four months, there is one perk to his constant traveling: the creative juices get flowing!
“I come up with more ideas when I’m on the road but I don’t get to finish them,” he says. “I don’t get to fully flush them out because I’m so busy on the road. I’m very all over the place but I’m definitely most creative when I’m out here.”
Mendes released his second studio album Illuminate in June 2016 and will be on the Illuminate World Tour until Dec. 18.