Shawn Mendes and breaking the lie about quitting

opinion



It’s an old showbiz aphorism, “the show must go on,” the idea that doing otherwise ends up disappointing the very people who brought you onto this stage.

That’s why Canadian pop singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes decided to postpone the next three weeks of shows on his current world tour – which takes him well into the fall before embarking on a European leg in 2023 – to focus on himself to take care of himself and his sanity is strikingly brave, especially since the idea of ​​letting people down is a great source of anxiety for him.

how should i know He told me and thousands of other people at his show in Winnipeg at the Canada Life Center last Thursday night, just 24 hours before an Instagram story announced he was taking some time off. During a self-confessed moment at the piano, he mentioned that his fear of letting people down was “paralyzing” as he began writing his new album, 2020 Wonder.

I reviewed the concert for the free press, and I noticed that these fears seemed unfounded; Wonder is a pinnacle for a young artist beginning to blossom and I have never seen an artist receive such an enthusiastic reception at the arena formerly known as Bell MTS Place.

From his four-star performance, you would never know he was struggling.

But fear can be so sneaky. It’s a liar. It doesn’t matter how many fans are clamoring for you when it’s all about you and your thoughts, when it’s all about you and the pressure. And the pressure on Mendes is great.

Shawn Mendes is 23. He’s been famous for almost a decade. He has been touring since he was 15 years old. That math means he didn’t have much of a teenage life; He grew up under an unwavering spotlight that shines on him for almost half his life.

Lately, he’s been open about his battles with anxiety, which has literally gotten stuck in his throat. “I couldn’t sing anymore, and I always didn’t want to stop. I didn’t want to stop,” he said GQ last year.




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However, we have been culturally wired to treat our bodies like machines, ignoring and sublimating the cues our bodies give us. Many of us, to borrow Mendes’ words, “resist quitting.” We drive too long with the proverbial check engine light on and then wonder why we’re falling apart, why our work suffers, why the things that used to be joy and inspiration aren’t anymore.

That’s not to say we should never fulfill our commitments or do things we “don’t feel like doing.” Rather, it is about realizing that if we constantly ignore what makes us human and call it “professionalism,” then we cannot be there for ourselves and for each other at all.

For his part, Mendes has done a lot of work to tear apart these kinds of cultural scripts, including toxic masculinity; On the title track of his new album, he sings, “I wonder when I cry into my hands/I’m conditioned to feel like it makes me less of a man.”

It is admirable that as a young man he recognizes these harmful messages and challenges them. That’s not giving up. That does indeed do the job.

jen.zoratti@winnipegfreepress.com

Twitter: @JenZoratti

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Jens Zoratti

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