Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes address the pressures of being famous in 'Monster' video
How it started for Justin Bieber: "Who's Shawn Mendes?" How it's going: a brand new collaboration with his fellow Canadian singer.
On Friday, the duo released the music video for their first collaboration together, "Monster," which tackles the hardships that come with fame. In the video, Mendes and Bieber cross paths on an elevated white platform in a dark foggy night, singing about the societal pressures and high expectations placed on celebrities.
“But what if I what if I trip? / What if I, what if I fall?,” they sing on the chorus. “Then am I the monster? / Yeah, just let me know/What if I, what if I sin? / What if I, what if I break? / Then am I the monster?”
Bieber teased the song, which is taken from Mendes’ upcoming studio album "Wonder" (due Dec. 4), when tweeting my interview with him, in which he was asked about his fellow artist and responded, "Who's Shawn Mendes?"
At the time, Bieber was on my radio show promoting, “What Do You Mean?” from his then-forthcoming album “Purpose.” The song went on to become his first No. 1 hit in the U.S. At the same time, Mendes was beginning to climb the pop charts with “Stitches,” a single off his No. 1 album "Handwritten.”
More than five years later, the two have removed any doubt over their knowledge of each other’s existence and what kind of relationship they have (at the time, fans speculated that Bieber was throwing shade Mendes’ way by asking that question).
In an exchange on Twitter Tuesday to promote the song, Bieber resurfaced the clip of him asking who Mendes was. The “If I Can’t Have You” singer responded by retweeting it with a photo of himself and actor Jacob Tremblay adding, “You don’t remember us taking this pic together?” Tremblay, who like the two musicians is Canadian, recently played a young Bieber in the music video for “Lonely.”
Back in 2015, the day after Bieber’s interview with me aired on WPLJ-FM in New York, Mendes was asked about the clip on BBC Radio 1 in the UK.
“We haven’t met, but I guess he just doesn’t know (me),” Mendes replied. “I’m definitely a fan of him.”
By the end of the week, Bieber was following Mendes on Twitter. And that November, Mendes met Bieber after the American Music Awards, calling him “a great guy.” But the two weren’t fast friends. In a recent interview promoting his "Wonder" album, Mendes told Apple Music’s Zane Lowe that his relationship with Bieber, “just started forming properly in the last three months.” That’s when he then called Bieber to talk with him about “Monster,” a song Mendes wrote about three years ago.
Mendes credits his now-collaborator with inspiring him to sing, noting that he was 9 when Bieber released “One Time” and kicked off what came to be known as “Bieber Fever.”
“He was Elvis to me,” Mendes said. “To come back around and have this very human conversation with him…it feels like one of the most special songs I’ve ever wrote."
Bieber will perform at the 2020 American Music Awards, airing Nov. 22 on ABC. "Monster" will appear on Mendes' album, "Wonder," due Dec. 4.