MTV Unplugged is making a return more than 25 years after creating a splash after first hitting the airwaves and changing the way a generation saw their pop stars like no other show before. For the premier episode they are kicking it off strong with multi-platinum, award-winning singer/songwriter Shawn Mendes known for his string of catchy hits including: Stitches, Mercy, and Treat You Better.
The original MTV Unplugged series broke new ground and allowed fans to see a different side of artists beyond the world of sleek highly produced music videos, which gave a rarely seen intimacy and realism through the special experience it provided to the viewers and the icons that graced its stage. That is the magical charm of MTV Unplugged, it creates the opportunity for lightning to strike and an artist to be seen in a new light, forever creating a shared touchstone.
The most notable performances from the original included the biggest names from the tops of the charts at the time including Pearl Jam, Tony Bennett, Mariah Carey, and LL Cool J. The performances they gave instantly became iconic images of cool, captured in a bottle forever.
With digital production having become an even greater part of the process of song creation over the years since MTV Unplugged first debuted being able to see artists step to the challenge of creating an all acoustic performance and allowing fans to experience their music in a brand new way is an increasingly rare and unique opportunity. The show continues to do what it does best by bringing the biggest names in the industry and offering a glimpse while at their most raw and exposed- No filter, no layering. Just them, the music, and the fans.
Shawn Mendes showed the wide-open potential of the new generation of MTV Unplugged and was the perfect way usher in the return of the franchise. After humble beginnings and gaining popularity through wildly successful Vine recordings Mendes skyrocketed in record time to rack up #1 chart-toppers one after another, piling up the awards in his wake and amassing a huge fan following.
We got a special sneak preview and saw him perform live at the show taping at the beautiful Theater at the Alex Hotel in Los Angeles. He walked onto the stage and into the spotlight to the applause of the few lucky fans thrilled to have a once in a lifetime up close and personal moment and be part of the audience. Mendes stepped to the plate and knocked it out of the park with an amazing set that was playful and engaging, but also vulnerable and personal. Mendez would talk to the audience between songs and you could feel the connection. He’d commiserate about the heat of the stage lights beating down on his button down shirt and tease the crowd with a mini faux strip tease, keeping the fans swooning. During the songs he’d stretch the microphone out toward the crowd and have them sing along, the words would pour out without missing a beat from the excited voices of those who have sung those lyrics to themselves a hundred times in their most private moments, now coming together to sing as one with him right by their side.
These sorts of moments are what sets MTV Uplugged apart and allows viewers to become part of something that is beyond a standard video or commercial concert. Music that fans have heard so many times before takes on a whole new flavor and the personality and depth the musician comes out in fresh and exciting ways every time. The new generation of viewers and fans will be able to delight in seeing how the new series will carry the torch and find new reasons to kindle the spark.
Here is a clip of Shawn performing “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”.
“MTV Unplugged Shawn Mendes” Premieres Friday, September 8th at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT