Becoming Famous on YouTube: Shawn Mendes and Alessia Cara

The YouTube logo on film from a classic film reel.

Famous Canadian singer Shawn Mendes, like many other aspiring singers of the Internet generation, started off as a cover artist online. Regularly uploading his covers to the online platforms YouTube and Vine for about a year then led Mendes to grow a large following, which helped get him noticed by music producers. The guitar-playing Canadian songster, still in his teens, thereafter signed a contract with a record label, and original Shawn Mendes songs began to come out in the mid-2010s.

The boy next door

The change from singing covers to performing his own songs went well for Mendes, whose releases of fan favorites like Stitches and Treat You Better helped alter his status from “promising” to “established”. Even so, while he now has great success and gets mobbed by young women everywhere he goes, he continues to come across as the boy equivalent of the girl next door, just like he did in his early YouTube videos. This relatable character, which manifests in a charming smile, innocent eyes and overall personableness, in the opinion of both critics and fans, adds to Mendes’ appeal and greatly complements his vocal skills.

Body image and Disney

Another Canadian artist, who is considered just as relatable as Shawn Mendes and who also broke through by posting covers to YouTube, is Alessia Cara. By her own admission, Cara began uploading covers online to become comfortable with showing her flawed self to the world, and she has continued on the same theme of female empowerment with songs like Scars To Your Beautiful later during her career. The topic of body image is far from the only topic Cara sings about though, with acclaimed pop song Here and Disney theme song How Far I’ll Go as just some examples of her lyrics’ broad subject range.

The varied themes in Alessia Cara’s songs, to dig a little deeper, are reflective of Cara’s talkative and bubbly personality, where her mind quickly jumps from one thought to the next. The same range and personality traits, moreover, has listeners and supporters believe her to be authentic, a fan assumption which is similar to that of fellow singer Shawn Mendes. Cara and Mendes, to expound on their commonalities, also share Toronto as their home town, are of similar age and find themselves at about the same stage in their music careers, so it’s little surprise that the two idols have become friends.