Before Shawn Mendes was filling up massive stadiums all around the world and had his songs playing on the radio all the time, he was just a kid with a dream who happened to upload videos of himself singing on Vine. He got his start as a web star but has quickly transcended into the huge pop star he is now. Naturally, there are some of his very loyal fans who have been with him since those early six-second video days and for Shawnn his bond with his Mendes Army is unlike anything else since he feels like they know him better than anyone else.
The "Treat You Better" singer opened up in an interview with Paper Magazine about how he approaches the balance of dealing with the personal and professional sides of himself and what he shares with his fans. Basically, he is aware of how he always wants to project an authentic version of himself to his fans, since they truly take the time to get to know the real Shawn.
"I think just like you would [navigate] any job. This is a lot more confusing because it's a lot more personal of a job but it's really not. Anything that you think would be socially inappropriate or socially wrong to say because you haven't known the person for two or three years, don't say it. I think it's a lot simpler than people expect but, with that being said, I've known my fans for two or three years so what people see online who don't really know me, my fans know me better because they've been at shows and they see me after shows and we've talked," Shawn explained. "So it's a confusing thing to talk about because there's so many fans, who do know me a lot better because they pay such close attention instead of just what's right in front of you. I guess what I'd say is I don't say anything that I wouldn't say to somebody I just met. But I'm also not scared of being myself."
So if you ever meet Shawn, know that he's being genuine, but he's obviously very aware of how he should and shouldn't act. He was also asked about what it's like having fans view him more as a friend rather than an unrelatable idol since we all have that up close and personal access to celebs thanks to social media. The singer admits he takes the idea of being a big brother of sorts to his many fans very seriously.
"Well, because for me I see [my relationship with my fans] as like this older brother thing, where he's your older brother who's the captain of the football team but he's someone you look up to and admire and ask for advice and pay attention to. But he's also your brother at the same time and I think that's the best of both worlds. I know that they all look up to what I say, and I try to be a great role model. They truly appreciate what I say and what I do, but at the same time, they all remember that I'm human and I'm just a dude and that's really nice," Shawn said.
OK, Shawn, the big brother is actually a really sweet concept. He thinks of his fans as family and he wants to set a positive example for them. PRECIOUS. But guess that throws out the idea of him ever dating a fan though. But we digress. Now while we appreciate our dear Shawn for having this outlook, a responsibility that big for sure comes with pressures and in the past, he has spoken about how tbh, no one actually knows him like they think they do.
"People know me but they have no idea. I can't be best friends with the entire world, I can't fall in love with every girl, I can't be a father figure or older-brother figure to every person. But I hate being alone. I just want someone there — to get out of my own head for a minute," Shawn said to Billboard in August of 2016.
Hmm, okay that's a bit of a different tune than what he's saying now...
But a lot can change in a year's time and perhaps Shawn has come to realize his fans will always have his back and really try to get to know the real him. He's clearly now totally fine with taking on this big bro role and hopefully it's something he's more comfortable with since it looks like he's not slowing down anytime soon.