Shawn Mendes on How His Breakup Inspired 'When You're Gone' (Exclusive)

Mendes and Camila Cabello announced their split in November.

Shawn Mendes is finding musical inspiration in his split from Camila Cabello. ET's Denny Directo spoke to the 23-year-old singer about his latest release, "When You're Gone," four months after he and Cabello called it quits following two years together.

"I think, in a lot of ways, it was just me kind of processing what it feels like to be on my own again, and processing what it feels like to learn how to cope and be there for myself," Mendes explained. "The original song was really a sad ballad and it ended up turning into an upbeat tempo kind of song, so it's interesting... I think if you can surround a song in a sonic soundscape that makes people excited, it allows people to listen more."

As his fans listen to "When You're Gone," which is out now, Mendes hopes that they find comfort in the words he sings.

"Sharing music and sharing vulnerable lyrics has always been important to me, because potentially there's someone who's going through the exact same thing," he noted. "I think that it's kind of creating a world where somebody can feel related to and less alone."

While Mendes isn't necessarily feeling how he did when he wrote the song, he likes that this track, and others he pens, are "kind of a stamp in time."

"When you write them, that's kind of exactly how you were feeling in that moment, on that day, but they exist forever. I think that's the beautiful part about them," he said. "But, for me, it's something that is always being worked through, before and after the song."

Since he wrote "When You're Gone," Mendes says he's realized that "maybe I was putting too much pressure on one person to provide every support that I needed."

"I have a lot of great people around me. I think that's the beautiful part," he said. "I realized that's why you have such a great group of friends, and family, and all these people. They are there to support you and just kind of be a part of that journey with you."

In the music video for the track, Mendes performs the song to a crowd of happy fans, something that was "really important" for the singer after years of not performing in-person due to COVID-19.

"I just wanted to get back to a place where people were feeling the musicianship of me," he explained. "I feel so excited about tour, and I wanted that same excitement about tour to come across in this music video for people."

Filming the video only increased Mendes' readiness to hit the road on his Wonder: The World Tour, which will kick off its North American leg June 27 in Portland, Oregon.

"Tour is this one half of the picture with my career and what I’m so in love with -- it's touring and it's making music. When I’m left with just one, there’s always this feeling of just emptiness," Mendes said. "When I got back on stage, I really felt like this hole was filled again. This was like, 'Oh, I forgot this was truly what I live for. This is something that makes me feel electric. This really is so special to me.' I’m just really excited for that to happen again, 'cause I think everybody needs that."

Touring is so meaningful, Mendes explained, because gathering together and having people be "present at one moment and connecting over one thing, it’s a very human experience."

"It's where it feels like you and 10,000 other people are all going through something similar at the same time," he said. "If you ever stand in an arena, you can just feel your energy rise and your heart start to beat faster."

In addition to touring, Mendes is thinking ahead to his next album, though he's not ready to divulge too much about that just yet.

"I think people should just take it as it comes and not worry too much about what it will be. That’s what I’m trying to do, is not get caught up in what I should be and just be excited about what I am in the moment," he told ET. "I have no idea how music is gonna sound that I make a month from now versus today. I don’t wanna put any false expectations out there, so take it as it comes and I hope you enjoy it whatever it is. I’m definitely just trying to do whatever feels good and whatever feels authentic."



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