The release today of ‘Senorita’, the new collaboration between Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello – a union affectionately known as Shawnmila to their respective followers – arrives three days after the Canadian heartthrob first sent the Internet into meltdown by posting a steamy teaser of the video on his socials, but, as his duettist attests, the world could have been waiting even longer for this to materialize.
“The song was actually in the works for a really long time,” Camila admits over a transatlantic call to Clash HQ. “He had first sent me the idea for it nine months ago, and we just kinda kept going back and forth between like, ‘We’re doing it!’ and then one of us being like, ‘Okay, I don’t wanna do it,’ and then other one being like, ‘No, I wanna do it now,’ and the other person was like, ‘Oh, I don’t wanna do it anymore…’” she laughs. “It took a bit for it to come to fruition where we were both like, ‘Okay, let’s do it.’”
Arriving almost four years after the then-teenage pair first partnered on ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’, the lead single from the 2015 re-release of Mendes’ debut album ‘Handwritten’ that saw Cabello moonlighting from her day job in Fifth Harmony (the girl group she’d quit in 2016), ‘Senorita’ may likely come as little surprise to those whose tongues were set wagging after the duo were spotted lunching together in LA last month.
Written by the pair, alongside Andrew Watt, Benny Blanco, Ali Tamposa, Charli XCX, Jack Patterson and Cashmere Cat, ‘Senorita’ is a spicy tale of seduction and provocative encounters, with a sizzling video that brings to vivid life the whirlwind romance of star-crossed lovers in the Miami heat, and sees the two really raising the temperature as they embrace. “When your lips undress me, hooked on my tongue,” they sing as they strip off in a hotel room, “Your kiss is deadly / Don’t stop.”
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Shawn Mendes (Photo: Paul Phung)
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It’s the second track in a month to drop for the Cuban-born Camila, following ‘Find U Again’, her contribution to Mark Ronson’s new break-up concept album, ‘Late Night Feelings’. Ronson joins a roll call of responsive collaborators – which also features Pharrell, Machine Gun Kelly, Quavo, Travis Scott, Diplo, Ryan Tedder, and Charli XCX – who have each successfully elicited a unique and affecting response from Camila in the studio and on record.
But it’s in Shawn, she says, that she’s found the most instinctive and receptive musical partner.
“It’s one of the most natural things in the world for he and I to do a song together,” the 22-year-old hitmaker explains. “I think I’ve actually known him the longest out of anybody in the music industry – we’ve been in each other’s lives for like four or five years, and it’s been really beautiful to kinda grow up together… It’s actually a really beautiful feeling to know that this person is always going to be in my life, we’re always going to love each other.”
Having simultaneously experienced a skyrocketing ascension to fame and endured the probing glare of the media microscope in that time – Camila becoming Spotify’s most streamed ever solo female artist at the end of 2018 as she surpassed a billion plays of her Latin-flavoured chart-busting single ‘Havana – the two have become a mutual support network to maintain a semblance of normality in each other’s lives.
Their bond, Camila reveals, is a refuge they can turn to when the unreliable and stifling world around them begins to feel unbearable.
“I’ve never had a lot of friends,” she says. “I’ve always just had a few people in my life that I trust. I feel like it’s so rare to meet someone in this industry and find a person of that quality, and I feel like Shawn is that person for me. I just trust him, and no matter the level of intensity that he has around his career or I have, he is just normal, and that is so rare and precious to find in this industry. To be able to hang out with someone and you don’t really care that they’re Shawn Mendes, you know what I mean? You’re just people, and that is definitely something that is rare.”
‘Senorita’ is out now.
Words: Simon Harper
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