Shawn Mendes dropped his first track of the year last week, titled "If I Can't Have You." The song was released alongside a black and white music video that is already approaching 44 million views on YouTube.
The song has a classic Shawn tone with fitting lyrics, focused on the singer longing for a repaired relationship with a girl of his dreams. With nearly every aspect of the song being Mendes' forte, it's hard to believe that he did not initially write the song for himself.
In a recent interview with Apple’s Beats 1, the "Lost in Japan" singer admitted that even though he penned the the track himself, he didn't do so for himself, revealing that he was initially going to give the song to Dua Lipa.
"I was back in the studio with Teddy Geiger and Nate and I was playing it on piano and I was like, 'Oh my god this would be really cool for Dua Lipa,'" Shawn recalled. “It was on guitar and I turned it to piano, it was right after 'One Kiss' came out. In the voice note — I’m speaking like I’m gonna send to Dua I’m like, ‘okay Dua I have this song I have just a chorus we can finish it if you want,’ and I’m singing it on the piano and I’m like... cool, I’m gonna send it to her."
Shawn seriously pondered giving the song away to the British pop star, but he ultimately decided he was the best fit for the track. "It’s a confident pop record. It’s clearly that for me," he explained. "I’m going through this phase right now where I’m testing out all the styles of music I can possibly be doing. Pop is what's in my blood — no pun intended. It’s the thing that I do."
"In the last six months, I wrote about 45 songs and they’re all over the place and different vibes," Shawn continued. "And ['If I Can't Have You'] is the one that, consistently, every single time I was playing it for myself... friends and family, was just giving people that smile."
A Dua Lipa version of the newly released song would've been fun to hear, but we think Shawn made the right decision, as "If I Can't Have You" debuted with 30 million first-day streams, the most of Shawn's career.