I usually don't listen to artists younger than myself because teenage voices rarely send shivers down my spine. As always, there are exceptions to everything and Shawn Mendes is one of them. This 18-year-old walking combination of talent and maturity stands out from the crowd not only for his incredible singing skills and the ability to play the guitar so freaking well. What makes Shawn special is also his approach to Music and life that reveals the high level of artistry.

Illuminating the darkness

Do you know why his new album is called Illuminate?

Because he believes that when going through dark times in life most people turn to music. Therefore, as an artist, he feels it is his duty to shed light on that darkness. And that's the spirit! The very essence of Art is to bring consolation, hope and relief. Music turns artists into therapists for their audience, it is a means of communication between kindred souls. Shawn is perfectly aware of the fact that he has the power to unite people. When 10 000 fans gather in one place for similar reasons you can feel the obvious connection between one another and the exchange of energy can be truly transcendental. Such is the beautiful power of music some of us cannot live without.

In love with misery?

This is what "Mercy" is about. Seemingly another love song, it deals with a complicated relationship between artists and their art. I'm sure anyone with a true passion can relate. However, in thecase of hypersensitive musicians their craft consumes them until there is no ordinary part of their existence left.

To create, or not to create, that is the question. Shawn captured every aspect of this dilemma both in the lyrics and in the video for "Mercy". We observe the process of writing and performing a song juxtaposed with drowning. There are two parallel dimensions which seem to represent the physical and the mental state of the young singer.

In a large room he is playing the piano, the guitar and the drums (isn't he multi-talented!) while simultaneously going, or having a feeling of going, underwater in a car. The metaphor here is obvious. In order to deliver something of great artistic value very often you have to swim in fear, loneliness or traumas of your past, struggling to create art out of pain. And the answer to our eternal Shakespeare-inspired query is that no matter how much destruction it may cause within a person musicians will always remain in love with music. Consuming all the air inside my lungs, ripping all the skin from off my bones, I'm prepared to sacrifice my life, I would gladly do it twice. In a vicious circle of misery and fulfillment, in a twisted artistic way, one results from the other and life ceases to be simple.

Then you beg for mercy.

The Illuminate World Tour begins in March 2017 and Shawn Mendes will bring his light to arenas all over the world. May artists like him always be there to illuminate the darkness.