Shawn Mendes Shows Atlanta Fans How Much They Mean To Him

Shawn Mendes Shows Atlanta Fans How Much They Mean To Him

"Welcome to 'Illuminate.' Your journey begins here."
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18-year-old Shawn Mendes is the youngest artist since Justin Bieber to have his first two albums earn a No. 1 spot on Billboard 200. If you're familiar with Mendes's music - or his fanbase - this will not come as a shock.

Mendes's newest album, Illuminate, is packed with feel-good love songs and guitar-driven ballads. When he stopped at the Infinite Energy Arena in Atlanta for the Illuminate Tour last Saturday, he played almost every song from the album as passionate fans screamed every lyric at the top of their lungs.

Up-and-coming pop artist Charlie Puth opened the show with his biggest hits, which included "We Don't Talk Anymore" and "Attention." He opened with an energetic "We Don't Talk Anymore" and then played the keyboard for almost the rest of his set.



Although the fans were mostly teens, they effortlessly blew the roof off the arena. Their collective screams were as loud as the music itself. They filled the arena with passion and let everyone know how much Mendes means to them.

To say that Mendes's fans are dedicated would be an understatement. He first gained a following in 2013, when he began posting six-second covers of songs on Vine. He accumulated hundreds of thousands of followers in just a few months and quickly became one of the top five most followed people on Vine. Since then, Mendes has made a point to develop a close relationship with his fans.

When he got signed to Island Records in 2014, he released his first single, "Life of the Party," which made him the youngest artist to ever debut in the Billboard Top 25. His third single, "Stitches," was picked up by Top 40 radio stations. From there, he toured with Taylor Swift and headlined two world tours, including a stop at Madison Square Garden, which sold out in five minutes.


No artist in the music business would be where they are without fans, but not many artists acknowledge them as much as Mendes does. From his first song ("There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back") to his last ("Treat You Better"), he interacted with fans the entire time. Mendes thanked them frequently and spent a long time holding their hands. Right before "Never Be Alone," he played a video featuring a montage of fans with a voiceover saying "What we have is special."


Towards the middle of the show, Mendes performed four songs from a B-stage beneath a moon, surrounded by fans on all sides. After he covered the chorus of Ed Sheeran's "Castle on the Hill," he played a stripped-down version of "Life of the Party." This song means a lot to fans, not only because it was his first single, but also because it inspired DoSomething.org's campaign, "Notes for Shawn," which helped people with low self-esteem. He spent all of "Roses" holding as many hands as he could.

Shawn Mendes couldn't have treated his Atlanta fans any better on Saturday night. Even if you've never heard his songs, you must make a point to see him in concert for an experience unlike any other.

Check out more photos of Shawn Mendes and Charlie Puth.

Cover Image Credit: Sophie Harris

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To Percy Jackson, I Hope You're Well...

Percy Jackson and the Olympians and the Heroes of Olympus are both series which helped shape my life. I want to share my love for them here, with you.

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Two days before I moved from New Jersey to California, I had a late night at a friend's house. Just a few miles outside of my small town of Morris Plains, his house was out of the way and a safe haven for myself and my mother during a harrowing and strenuous move. My father had been across the country already for almost two months trying to hold down his new job and prove himself. His absence was trying on me (at the tender young age of nine years old) and my mother, and we often spent time at my friend's home, as our mothers got along well.

That night came the time to say goodbye for the very last time, and as our mothers were tearfully embracing at the door, he ran up to me and shoved a book in my hands. Bewildered and confused, I tried to give him my thanks but he was already gone - running away in a childish fit that expressed his hurt at my leaving more than any words he could've said. I looked down at the book in my hands. It was a battered copy of Rick Riordan's "The Lightning Thief," with its binding bulging slightly out in a strange fashion, the cover slightly torn and bent, and quite a few pages dog-eared. The book wasn't in good condition, but I took the time to read it. I was ensnared and enchanted by the lurid descriptions of mythology, of the lovable characters of Percy, Annabeth, and Grover, and the upside-down world they lived in. Over the course of the move and our eventual settling into our new California home, I devoured the series adamantly, reading "The Battle of the Labyrinth" almost five times in the fifth grade and eventually finishing out with "The Last Olympian." The series accompanied me through a difficult move and a whirlwhind of early puberty; by that time, Percy and friends I knew intimately as my own companions. When the series ended, I happily parted with it, and began other literary conquests (namely in the realm of classics).

After an almost year-long break, I re-discovered the series in sixth grade. I hadn't realized that there was a companion series to the first, in fact, a continuation - The Heroes of Olympus. I lapped up "The Lost Hero" and "The Son of Neptune" with greed, and eagerly awaited the arrival of "The Mark of Athena" the following year.

One of my most vivid memories of middle school was sneaking downstairs the morning of the Kindle release of "The Mark of Athena", sneaking past my parents' bedroom as stealthily as I could in the wee hours of the morning to get my kindle and immerse myself in the world. I believe I finished it in about two days. For the next two books in the series, I followed the same pattern: get up early, read it as fast as I could get my hands on it. "The Blood of Olympus", the last book in the series, came out in my freshman year of high school. After finishing the second series, I shelved my much-loved paperbacks for good, and turned myself to other literary pursuits. I eventually relocated to Virginia, and went to college. Percy and friends were almost forgotten until my first year at the University of Virginia.

I was devastatingly alone my first semester at university. I didn't know what to do with myself, entombed by my loneliness. However, at the bottom of my suitcase, I found my old Kindle Paperwhite, with both of Percy's series neatly installed for me. I made a resolution with myself: I would reread both series, reading only at mealtimes where I sat alone. By the time I was finished, I wanted to see where I was compared to when I started.

Re-reading the series was like coming home. It was nostalgia, sadness, and ecstasy wrapped into one. I delighted in revisiting Percy's old haunts, his friends, his challenges. However, it was sad, knowing I had grown up and left them behind while they had stayed the same. It was a riveting memory train which made me look forward to meals, and eased my loneliness at school. Gradually, as the semester progressed, I was reading on Percy's tales less and less, as I found my friends, clubs, and organizations that gradually took up more and more time.

I still haven't finished my re-read, and am about halfway through "The Blood of Olympus". I've come a long way in the almost decade since I first received that tattered copy of "The Lightning Thief", and I still have some ways to go. So thanks, Percy, Annabeth, Grover, Jason, Piper, Reyna, Nico, Frank, Hazel, Leo. Thank you for growing up with me. I'll never forget you.

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