You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Shawn Mendes says youth just isn’t about age.

“When we talk about the word youth, we’re not describing age, but the feeling of happiness and freedom,” he said in an interview for Variety‘s 2018 Power of Young Hollywood. “Any generation nowadays has the ability to change the world for the better.”

Mendes said he tried to capture this sentiment with his single “Youth,” featuring R&B singer Khalid. The track comes off of his recent self-titled album, released May 25, and the pair performed the song together at the Billboard Music Awards alongside the Parkland school shooting survivors.

The 20-year-old singer/songwriter said the performance was an out-of-body experience — singing about something that was bigger than himself created a special moment, he added.

Although it can be scary to voice an opinion, Mendes said artists can connect with people by talking about difficult topics such as anxiety, which he discusses in another of his singles, “In My Blood” – a song he said his 14-year-old self would have appreciated.

“It was the first song I wrote for the album, and when I came into the studio I just wanted to make a jump by being genuinely honest and truthful,” he said. “I think that’s what creates good music, and that’s kind of what breaks that barrier from artist to people.”

Popular on Variety

More Power of Young Hollywood

  • Stephan James on the Toughest Lesson

    Stephan James on the Toughest Lesson He Learned in Hollywood

    Stephan James discussed diversity in Hollywood, life lessons he’s picked up in his acting career and his Toronto roots for Variety‘s Power of Young Hollywood. “I want to look around and see a thousand black leading young men, guys like me who are doing it every day.,” said James. “I’m proud to be a part [...]

  • Camila Cabello Says Shawn Mendes Duet

    Camila Cabello Says Shawn Mendes Duet 'Señorita' Was Months In The Making

    For Variety‘s Power of Young Hollywood issue, Grammy-nominated singer Camila Cabello sat down to talk about her childhood idols such as Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran, the lessons she’s learned since rising to fame with Fifth Harmony (and eventually leaving to pursue her solo career in 2016) and — of course — her latest duet [...]

  • Cole Sprouse on the Toxicity of

    Cole Sprouse on the Toxicity of Social Media

    While twins Cole and Dylan Sprouse grew up in the spotlight as the devious duo in Disney’s “The Sweet Life of Zack and Cody,”  Cole says that they’ve grown out of the “kitschy twin thing” that they were known for when they were younger. “I think it’s a little embarrassing when people do that at [...]

Most Popular

Access exclusive content