Preceded by the single “Something Big,” Handwritten appeared to strong sales, debuting at number one in both Canada and the U.S. The single “Stitches,” which was released that April, became one of Mendes’ biggest hits, reaching the Top Ten in the U.S. and Canada and topping the charts in the U.K. and Germany. In addition, his single “Believe” landed on the soundtrack for the Disney Channel fantasy musical Descendants. While opening for Taylor Swift on the North American dates of her 1989 World Tour, Mendes and Fifth Harmony’s Camila Cabello collaborated on the song “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” which appeared on the deluxe version of Handwritten that was released in November 2015; the song reached the Top 20 on the U.S. and Canadian Hot 100 charts.
The Top Ten single “Treat You Better” preceded Mendes’ second album, Illuminate, which was recorded in upstate New York and arrived in September 2016. Illuminate, which featured co-songwriting contributions from Teddy Geiger and Scott Harris, debuted at number one in the U.S. and Canada, where it also achieved platinum status. It was quickly followed in December by the digital-only Live at Madison Square Garden. Mendes launched a massive world tour in the spring of 2017 and notched another Top Ten single in “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back.” Around this time, he also delivered the live acoustic session MTV Unplugged. ~ David Jeffries