Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello Are the Sounds of Summer
Just in time for summer and their single, “Señorita,” this season’s biggest stars grace our digital cover.
Preorder the Special Collector’s Zine with Never-Before-Seen photos from this shoot on Shopify.
The Internet is begging for Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello to “get together.” As two of the world’s biggest stars, who also happen to be old-time friends, the hankering for them to become this age’s Britney and Justin is both abundant and palpable. Fans obsess over public displays of adoration from one to the other, like after they each performed (separately) at the 2019 Grammys—a feat that’d been on their joint bucket lists since they were kids, “singing Ed Sheeran songs in the dressing room,” Camila tweeted that night.
Getting the two together was almost a year in the making. One pop star’s schedule? Crazed. Two? Impossible. Let’s look at what’s on the agenda. Headlines tell us Camila’s set to star in a new reimagined Cinderella, recorded “Find U” with Mark Ronson, and is finishing up a new album, while Shawn fronts Calvin Klein’s latest campaign, tours the world, and just released his latest song “If I Can’t Have You.” Thankfully, for their throngs of fans, the two did get together — just not as a couple.
Today, the two drop their joint single, “Señorita.” The irrefutable summer smash is an accruement of their songwriting talents, vocal flair, and sixth sense for pop gold that’s already landed both Cabello and Mendes on the top of international charts. What’s more is the song’s unapologetic frivolousness. Its self-aware levity is an encapsulation of where both artists stand at the moment: on top of the world, riddled with talent and a world full of stirring opportunities.
The excitement is something we all can relate to in the summer time, even if on a much smaller scale. To celebrate “Señorita,” we photographed Cabello and Mendes together (before they flew off in opposite directions) and had the two pop giants tell us all about their fruitful friendship.
Catch “Señorita” and the full interview, below.
Camila Cabello: Do you remember what your first impression was of me?
Shawn Mendes: That’s a great, great question.
CC: It’s a good one. I remember thinking we met on the Austin Mahone tour, and I remember I wanted to hang out with you, but you were always on the tour bus, just learning guitar.
SM: Yeah, that was me. I didn’t talk to anybody. You were the only person that talked to me. Like, you were the only one of everybody on that tour who would say words to me. Actually, I think if we go into our DM’s or something, there’s a photo from the day we met, I think.
CC: I also remember right before going on stage, I would hear you [singing].
SM: I also thought you were crazy. Insane.
CC: I am.
SM: Yeah, you are. And I thought you were out of your mind. I’d be in my bus where no one could see me. I’d be looking through the window and I’d see you like, flying around on a scooter and jumping and doing cartwheels. I’d be like, she’s insane. Close the window and go to sleep.
CC: Yeah, I was actually even crazier as a kid. My name on Facebook one time was Carla Billaba Billabong Cabello ’cause I thought I was funny. I was one of those people.
SM: You’re insane.
CC: Writing a song with someone is a vulnerable process, so how do you get over being shy about your ideas, opinions, etc. when writing with someone?
SM: I think you get over that before you even walk in the room.
CC: You do?
SM: I do.
CC: You’ve never been nervous when writing with someone?
SM: About like opening up to them?
SM: Not about that. I get nervous about like, am I gonna be a good singer today?
CC: Really? That is so funny.
SM: Yeah, but then about the opening up, I’m okay with that.
CC: Especially if I have a lyric that’s really personal, I’m like, “Oh my god, I do not want to say this in front of five people right now.”
SM: I literally walk in and I’m like, here’s the deal, 100 percent from the top.
CC: I think I make myself do it anyway, but it’s definitely nerve-racking to me.
SM: I really trust songwriters. I don’t know why I trust them so much. I shouldn’t trust them. I tell them everything, like too much.
CC: I know. I’m the same. I’ve literally thought if somebody was voice memo-ing this conversation, my entire life—
SM: Is over. Everything.
CC: Yeah, for sure. But for me it depends what vibe someone’s giving off. I feel like if you write with someone and they’re not sensitive, then I feel weird being like, “And then this happened, and then this happened…”
SM: And they’re just like, “Okay, well, couldn’t it be simpler? Like, we’re trying to write a hit.”
CC: Yeah, exactly. Then I’m like, “Woo, shutdown.” How do you gauge the success of a new single or record outside of charts and numbers?
SM: People on the street. Like, just people. And life, like nothing to do [with] online. If you’re walking down the street, and someone’s like, “I love your new song,” that’s a thing. ’Cause I think anyone online can say things easily. But it takes someone to really love it to say it in person.
CC: I actually really like when I see little kids singing along. Like if a fan is like, “Look [at] my baby brother [singing].”
SM: Yeah, that means it’s hitting a nerve.
CC: I think that’s really cool.
SM: So, “Señorita.” I had to do it all in Spanish yesterday. It was insane.
CC: Woah, I haven’t heard it.
SM: I haven’t heard it either.
CC: Do it right now.
CC: Do just one line.
SM: No, I can’t even remember one line.
CC: Okay, some funny details about the song. The song is actually like eight months in the making.
SM: It took me 10 months to convince Camila to sing this with me.
CC: This is true. My fans are just absolutely gonna hate me now.
SM: Oh, they should.
CC: They’re like, “She’s so stupid.” Honestly, it just takes the right time for things to happen, I feel. You know?
SM: Yeah, 100 percent. We also did a song before…
CC: We wanted to do a song called, “I Know What You Did Last Winter” and “I Know What We Did Last Fall”.
SM: And our managers were like—
CC: They were like, “No,” and we were like, “What?!” We almost fired them. We were like, “What do you mean? How’s that not a good idea?”
SM: And the “Last Fall” was a really cool idea.
CC: It was really cool. Then we did the winter version that was like Game of Thrones version.
SM: Yeah, Game of Thrones Christmas.
CC: Yeah, and then we did Spring, which was like flowers.
SM: Yeah, but none of those worked. But “Señorita” was great. I think this is probably the most anticipation I’ve ever had to release a song. Besides “I Know What You Did Last Summer.”
CC: I know, me too. It’s actually sick though because nobody knows that it is happening. Which has been really, really cool, like that we’ve actually been able to keep a secret.
SM: Literally no one has any idea. People probably don’t even think we’re in the same place in the world.
CC: We were looking at the video for “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and we were 30-feet apart.
SM: Numb…But now this video is basically the complete opposite of that. We grew up a little bit.
CC: Yeah, I think we’ve definitely matured. I actually think when we were that age we did not know what was going on. We were just like, going through stuff.
SM: I had no idea what was going on at all times.
CC: And now I feel like I’m gonna remember this moment, as opposed to like—
SM: Back then. I think we were just doing what was right in front of us. Now, we’re like, “Okay, this is uncomfortable. Let’s do it because of that. Let’s push ourselves because it’s hard. Let’s push ourselves because its uncomfortable. And that’s making it great.”
CC: What are some of your own personal goals in the next five years? Oh, how do you feel like you’ve grown as a person in the last five years?
SM: I think that all of the things I was putting importance on were so wrong. Like three years ago. Like the things I worried about and the things I was hoping people were liking and just like unnecessary stress and anxieties on things that I didn’t need to worry about…I used to get so nervous and numb about everything.
CC: I know, I used to get so nervous and kind of suffer through even good things before I was like, “So then when am I actually going to enjoy my life?”
SM: You’re like, you’re playing the Grammys—well not the Grammys, but you’re playing something, and this is like a—
CC: Actually, that was the first time I actually enjoyed the Grammys.
SM: Me too, I loved it.
CC: And I literally was like, do you know what? If this is going to be what you do 90 percent of your time, what’s the point of being miserable?
SM: 100 percent. Then what’s the point?
CC: Then just don’t do it, bitch.
SM: I was literally like that. I feel like back then, we were like, “Oh my god, I have to do my singing in the morning.”
CC: And then I realized, what’s the point? I actually realized that people’s opinions don’t actually matter to me that much. Like they don’t matter more than my experience.
SM: Exactly, yeah.
CC: That was such a big thing for me. I was like, “Okay, I’m so nervous about this interview or this session because I care what other people that I don’t know, what they think.” What’s the point? I don’t even know them.
SM: You’d go to start singing and you’d be like, I’m thinking about what people are thinking about me; I’m not even thinking about singing. Like am I literally 100 percent just thinking about what everyone’s thinking about me, and just doing the motions?
CC: Self-love is being like, “I actually just care about the experience that I’m having more than what the other person thinks of me.”
SM: 100 percent. Especially when you’re young, too. This is the time when I’m supposed to be having the most fun and not stressing.
CC: For sure. Okay, one last question. What is something that you would want to do, that’s non-music related, in your career?
SM: I want to open a coffee shop. It’s so simple but it’s like—
CC: Nice. I wanna have a podcast. I would actually love to make a podcast.
SM: Okay, me too! I actually think that would be amazing.
CC: I actually love podcasts. I never thought that I’d want to do that before.
SM: What would you talk about?
CC: Literally, I would interview people like this and just ask them completely unrelated stuff.
SM: Why don’t we do nothing that has to do with music.
CC: Or like the questions that nobody really asks. Like, “What’s like your biggest fear? What makes you cry?” The human part that you never see.
SM: “The Human,” you should call it.
CC: “The Human Experience.”
SM: Yeah, something like that.
CC: Isn’t that John Bellion’s album title?
SM: That’s his title but you should—
CC: I honestly love that, cause I actually really… like the more I grow up, I’m like you always see just the surface of what everybody’s going through. And it actually makes you feel so much more connected.
SM: What’s your biggest fear?
CC: I think my biggest fear a lot of the time is making mistakes. I have to work on that about myself. I feel like I always am afraid to make the wrong decision. And then I’m just paralyzed. So, I feel like I have to trust more, in whatever.
SM: We have to trust in like, even if it’s the wrong decision, it’s the right one because that taught you to not do it again, which is the right thing—which is the only way it was gonna go.
Read Camila’s questionnaire with Shawn here.