Shawn Mendes has made huge inroads in his short time in the public spotlight. The 17-year-old GTAborn and -raised singer/songwriter, who also plays guitar and piano, launched his career through the power of social media. In 2012, he began posting a series of videos of himself performing cover versions of popular songs across various video sharing websites including Vine and YouTube, earning him a dedicated following of viewers.
This eventually brought him to the attention of Island Records/Universal Music, who signed him to a deal in 2014. That year, they released the then-15-year-old’s debut single, “Life of the Party.” Initially ignored by American radio, the track entered the Billboard 100 Singles chart at number 24, making Mendes the youngest artist to land a single in the top 25. The single was part of a four song EP, The Shawn Mendes EP. Like the single, the EP performed incredibly well, reaching number 5 on the Billboard charts and selling over 100,000 copies. For his efforts in 2014, he was nominated for a Juno award as Breakthrough Artist of the Year.
In the spring of 2015, the young artist’s first full length album, Handwritten, was released, debuting at number one in both Canada and the U.S. On the strength of this album, Mendes was nominated for four Junos this year: Juno Fan Choice Award, Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, and Pop Album of the Year.
For making such a phenomenal explosion onto the world stage and his already impressive list of accomplishments, the Toronto Musicians’ Association is proud and honoured to name Shawn Mendes our Musician of the Year for 2015. We look forward to watching his career continue to grow in the coming years.