Music

5 things we learned from watching Shawn Mendes' revealing Netflix documentary

The new film drops ahead of his 4th studio album, Wonder.

The new film drops ahead of his 4th studio album, Wonder

From a whirlwind world tour to a budding romance, Shawn Mendes: In Wonder takes us behind the scenes of one of Canada's biggest pop stars. (Courtesy of Netflix)

Today, Netflix released its latest music documentary, Shawn Mendes: In Wonder. The film takes a look at one of Canada's biggest pop stars as he goes on his 2019 world tour, navigates a budding romance with fellow pop star Camila Cabello, and enters the studio to write his fourth studio album, Wonder (out Dec. 4). 

Unlike most first features about a musician, In Wonder skips Mendes' rise to fame — although clips of his younger self are featured — and instead plops viewers right in the middle of his chaotic touring and recording schedule. The result is a whirlwind look behind the scenes that bridges the last few years of his life with the exciting new music that's to come. For superfans of Mendes, this is a must-watch. 

Below are five new things we learned about Mendes while watching In Wonder.  


His new album will be full of love

Mendes references Frankie Valli in the film, citing the grandiosity of the horns on "Can't Take my Eyes off You" as an inspiration for his upcoming album. (Mendes even covered that song recently for BBC Radio 1 — see below.) When discussing the feeling he wanted on the album, Mendes notes "that all-around overdose of love." Throughout the film, he also gives viewers a preview of songs on Wonder like "Teach me How to Love" and "Always Been You," two tracks that definitely reflect that sense of all-consuming love. 

 

His sister says he never wanted to be famous 

When Mendes takes cameras home to his family's Pickering, Ont., house, Mendes' younger sister, Aaliyah, offers up some memories of witnessing her brother's rise to fame. "I asked him if he wanted to be famous one day," she remembers, "and he shut the whole idea down so fast. He was like, 'No, I don't want to be famous.'"

Mendes appeared surprised by that statement: "I was? Well I obviously changed my mind." Aaliyah also gives her perspective on growing up with a budding musician in the house: "It was constant noise at my house, so annoying! It was awful." 

He's a strong believer in manifestation journaling

Mendes reveals the contents of his journal in one scene, detailing mantras and sentences he would write over and over again like "I control my brain and voice" and "I sing high with no tension." One of the examples of manifestation he shows off is a page where he wrote, "I will sell out the Rogers Centre," referring to his biggest hometown show in Toronto last year. (This scene was mere days before he performed that show.) On the following page in his journal, he declared: "I sold out the Rogers Centre."

"This is persistency right here," he says, proudly. 

All of his love songs are about Camila Cabello

Even though Mendes and Cabello only started dating last summer, Mendes confessed in In Wonder that all of the love songs he's ever written have been about Cabello. (The two have been friends since 2014, when Mendes and Cabello's former girl group, Fifth Harmony, toured as opening acts for Austin Mahone.)

"Everything's about you, they've always been about you," Mendes says, recalling a conversation he had with Cabello. That means hits like "Treat you Better," "Stitches" and "If I Can't Have You," just to name a few. (He even kicks off "If I Can't Have You" with the telling lyric, "I can't write one song that's not about you.") According to Mendes, Cabello had no idea until that talk. He later adds, "I don't think that I'm going to be able to write songs that really do it justice, that can really capture the things and the feelings with her." 

 

Cancelling his Brazil concert was truly heartbreaking

By the time Mendes reached São Paolo, Brazil, he was closing in on 100 shows on his 2019 world tour. In Wonder gives us an exclusive look at what happened the day he had to cancel that show, for which he had told fans on social media that he had developed laryngitis and a sinus infection that threatened to cause long-term damage to his voice. The cancellation came at the very last minute, shortly before doors opened for the show, because Mendes appeared determined to power through until his team stepped in to make an executive decision.

In the moments after the concert was pulled, Mendes is seen crying on a FaceTime call with his mom, Karen. "You never told me it was that serious," a concerned Karen says to her son. But she also assures him, "It's fine. It's not the end of the world, babe." Later in his hotel room, unable to speak, Mendes types a message to his father, Manny, who was there for him in-person: "I'm f--king exhausted of this. So much pressure when you cancel a show." 

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