- Shawn Mendes circumvented traditional routes to a recording contract by posting short clips of himself singing other people's songs on the video-sharing service Vine. These were no more than a few seconds -- Vine's restrictions set the limit at six seconds, which is hardly enough time to cover a chorus -- but it was enough to set some teenage hearts aflutter, which led to a contract with Island, which led to an EP in 2014, which led to the full-length debut Handwritten in 2015. Handwritten showcases Mendes' fusion of Jason Mraz's singsong loverman schtick and Ryan Tedder's adult contemporary. Mendes has songwriting credits on two-thirds of Handwritten, but when the record clicks -- as it does on "Stitches" and "Kid in Love" -- it's a combination of his sweet, puppy-dog charm and pristine production. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Rolling Stone - "'Kid in Love' might be about not growing up, but its playful self-awareness suggests that the singer is already plenty savvy."
Billboard - "[O]n the best of HANDWRITTEN, confident hooks and big dynamics make the syrup go down smoothly."