September 24, 2016

933 FLZ – It’s been a little over a year since Shawn Mendes released his debut album Handwritten. But the Toronto, Canada born singer/songwriter is already releasing his sophomore album called Illuminate (on Sept. 23rd) via Island Records. In total, the record has 12 new tracks, and features his hit single “Treat You Better,” which hit #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Illuminate also includes promotional singles like “Three Empty Words,” “Mercy,” and “Don’t Be A Fool.”

Back in June, when released “Treat You Better,” he performed an exclusive and intimate concert for fans at the iHeartRadio Theater in New York City. During the show, he not only performed his new single (and songs from Handwritten), but he also performed another new song from Illuminate, “Three Empty Words.” He told his fans of the song at the time, “The song is beautifully written, and I’m really pumped about it.”

Shawn recently told us all about his new album Illuminate, during an exclusive interview when he stopped by iHeartRadio HQ in New York City. We learned about the story behind the album’s title, what the most personal song on the record is to him, the writing process, and more.

5 Facts About Shawn Mendes’s New Album Illuminate
1. He named his album Illuminate as a reminder that music is one of the biggest things that sheds light on people through their dark times (AWW!).
Simply just because, it’s a little dark, but when people are going through rough times in their life, music is kind of the biggest thing that sheds light on people through their dark times. And that was kind of where we were coming from.”

2. “Understand” is one of the most personal songs to him on the album.
I could never choose a favorite song, but personally, there’s ‘Three Empty Words.’ [And] ‘Understand’ is one of the last songs on the album, and that song is probably the most personal to me. It’s a lot about growing up, and my friends, and just feelings and emotions all poured into one song.”

3. “Bad Reputation” was the most challenging song to write. He wanted to make sure the lyrics were just right.
One of the hardest songs that I found to write was ‘Bad Reputation,’ and that was because the concept is so intriguing, that I wanted to make sure we had lyrics that could follow up what we actually wanted to. Creating, it’s almost like having a really good movie idea, but making sure you get the right actors and movie to come across. And so that was a very hard one for me, making sure that every lyric was so incredible with that one.”

4. During the writing process for Illuminate, Shawn sometimes stayed up into the early morning hours (even until sunrise) writing songs with people he considers to be close friends.
The writing process was probably one of the most memorable processes of my life. We opened a studio in upstate New York, in the middle of the woods, and it was like some of the songs like 2 a.m., we’re all laying on the floor in the studio just looking at the ceiling, and just writing. Just talking about everything. The good thing about me and like the people I worked with, and wrote the album with, is that we’re all extremely close friends. So, half the time we were writing, half the time we were just talking and hanging out, and that’s I think what made the songs so special. We would go to like 4 or 5 a.m. Sometimes it gets bright out when we finished the song.”

5. The subject matter of the songs on Illuminate is more mature, and Shawn has had a lot to write about over the last few years since writing his debut album Handwritten.
They might be surprised by some of the content in some of the songs. It’s a lot more mature. What I’m talking about is a bit more grown up, so I think maybe they’ll be surprised by some of that. It’s only been a year [since Handwritten was released], but when I wrote Handwritten, I was 15. And when I wrote Illuminate, I was 17/18. So not only do you change a lot in that time, just as a person, but when you’re kind of in this crazy world, a lot changes. You have a lot to write about.”

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