This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song #500 and going until I reach Song #1. When you see the song title listed as something like: Song #XXX (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song #xxx (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.
KTOM: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #350: Nothing Holding Me Back by Shawn Mendes.
We are 150 songs into this countdown! Thanks for your continued interest and support. As always, every 25th song goes to one of my girls so, today we will be talking about the #8 song on Sophie’s personal all-time Top Ten list “Nothing Holding Me Back” by Canada’s own, Shawn Mendes.
For Sophie, this song brings back happy memories of one of the last times she can remember being at a large party prior to the start of the Covid pandemic. It was the occasion of one of her best friend’s birthday. Sophie was one of five or six girls invited to go out to another town for lunch and a matinee movie. As the gang of girls drove down the highway, they took turns singing songs that were coming on the radio. Sophie said that “Nothing Holding Me Back” was one of the first songs played that all of the girls knew all of the lyrics to. Consequently, it was the first song they all sang together as they drove. Singing out with your besties as you head on down the highway….well, it doesn’t get much better than that. The memory of it makes her smile to this day.
I am happy that my daughter has such good friends and such happy memories with them. I am also happy that some of those memories revolve around a singer such as Shawn Mendes. He is only 22 years old (as of the writing of this post) but has already accomplished much in his life. He was born in Ajax, Ontario, which is just 45 minutes west of where we live in Cobourg. His parents are working professionals (in the real estate and restaurant business, respectively). Shawn Mendes was raised to work hard and to always do right by others. He went to public school. He played basketball and volleyball (because he is tall). He lived a fairly typical teenager’s life……with one exception….music. As Mendes was entering his teens, he became aware of the story of Justin Bieber. Bieber grew up in a place called Stratford, Ontario. Stratford is about an hour to the west of Ajax. Bieber’s story centred on him being discovered as he was busking on the streets of Stratford as a teenager. Bieber went on to become a professional musician. By the time he was twenty, he already had several hit songs under his belt. Shawn Mendes thought that he would emulate what Justin Bieber did only he didn’t busk on the street corners of Ajax. Instead, like many young people these days, he turned to technology. In the early 2010s, there was a social media format called a Vine. Vines were six-second clips that predated today’s TikTok clips that are so popular. Mendes began to create vines of himself covering hit songs by people like Bruno Mars and other popular singers of the day. Because of his singing talent and good looks, the vines that Mendes created became viral sensations. In time, this led him to being discovered and offered a recording contract just like his hero Justin Bieber.
Shawn Mendes has enjoyed much success as a singer. His parade of hit singles includes songs such as “Stitches”, “I Know What You Did Last Summer” (with former girlfriend Camila Cabello), “Treat You Better”, “If I Can’t have You”, “Senorita” (with Camila Cabello) and “Nothing Holding Me Back”. He has been the musical guest on Saturday Night Live twice! He has won ten Juno Awards, multiple MTV Music Awards, been nominated for serval Grammy Awards and has already been enshrined on Canada’s Walk of Fame in Toronto. Did I mention that Shawn Mendes is only 22 years old!? When I was 22 years old, I still didn’t have my driver’s license. (I got that when I turned 24). He is quite the accomplished young man.
Shawn Mendes was raised to believe in the philosophy of strengthening communities by giving back to them in gratitude for all that those communities provided to him growing up. Consequently, he has volunteered to be involved in numerous charitable organizations that help out with issues such as Mental Health awareness (www.dosomething.org), promoting schools in Africa (www.pencilsofpromise.org), as well as championing the right of all girls to access the education that they need to climb out of poverty and succeed in life (www.nogirlleftbehind.com) under the banner of Global Citizen, with the support of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Shawn Mendes regularly performs at benefit concerts that raise funds for causes such as disaster relief, Aids and Cancer research, too.
So, if Sophie and her friends want to sing along with each other to the words of a Shawn Mendes song, I am ok with that. He is a good role model and is wished much future success as his career and personal life unfold. Among the many negative aspects of the Covid pandemic was the manner in which it impacted the lives of children. They lost access to their school life, their hobbies and, worst of all, to their families and friends. It was a lonely existence that definitely took a toll on Sophie and her friends. Having said that, I am glad that she could draw strength from the memories of good times spent with her friends. Those kind of happy times are the most precious of treasure. In the meantime, here is the pride of Ajax, Ontario, Mr. Shawn Mendes with “Nothing Holding Me Back”. Good picking, Sophie! Enjoy, everyone.
The link to the official website for Shawn Mendes, can be found here.
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