NEW YORK (AP) — As Shawn Mendes prepares to embark on a massive global tour, the 23-year-old has released an emotional single reflecting his breakup with Camila Cabello.

Mendes says “When You’re Gone” was about processing the loss in his life. (Cabello has her own album coming out Friday).

Mendes believes he’s matured as an artist, especially with the time he had to himself during the pandemic.

“As you get older you start to just feel like you want to keep pushing boundaries,” Mendes said.

Recently, the Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum artist sat down with The Associated Press to discuss his upcoming tour, his Met Gala invitation and the new single.


AP: Tell me about getting your emotions out for “When You’re Gone”?


Mendes: I think it’s really just like me processing a breakup, me processing losing somebody that was so much of my world and it’s just me trying to be candid and real with people because, ultimately, the only way I’m ever going to connect with people is if I’m being real with myself.

AP: So there was a lot of self-reflection you experienced?

Mendes: I think I went through a period of freedom and then I went through a period of fear and then I came back around to find freedom again. And that was a huge lesson in itself —that fear is not the way this is going to work. And so, coming back around to freedom and trust has been a huge one for me.

AP: When performing such a personal song, how do you keep your emotions intact?

Mendes: I wish I could say I had the control over that, but sometimes you get caught up and sometimes you step outside of yourself, kind of. Nobody really has control over that stuff.

AP: So it’s about pushing boundaries?

Mendes: You really want to start breaking down walls and doing things that maybe have not been done before. So, I think that’s a sign of maturity as well.

AP: This tour seems massive, why so big?

Mendes: This time around things are confusing because of COVID and we had to move the first half of the tour to the back of the tour. So it was really just trying to make things work to the way the world was kind of dealing in the moment. It’s a long tour, I think it’s over 100 shows worldwide, and I’m dying to start.


AP: What can audiences expect when they come to see you?

Mendes: The show is going to be incredible. I really think it will be unbelievable. I think it will be the best show we’ve ever put on. It’s just because the music was so curated for a live show that I think people are going to be so excited to be at that show. It’s the most excited I’ve ever been about a live show I’ve put on in my life.

AP: How does the energy differ with crowds around the world?

Mendez: South America has some of the best crowds in the world. America can be a little harder to win, but if you win them over, they can be some of the best crowds in the world, too. But then Europe is undeniably one of my favorite places to tour, always.

AP: With such intense performances, how do your wind down after a show?

Mendes: Ice baths have been pretty game-changing for me, like a sauna and an ice bath and some meditation and if I can keep that going, I’ll probably be OK. Because you’re right. I really do go out there and give everything.

AP: Last year, you made an interesting wardrobe choice at the Met Gala, are your going attending next month?

Mendes: Yeah. We’ll have to see. I’m not sure I’m allowed to say, but there’s a good, good, good chance.