It should surprise exactly no one that Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello are sheltering-in-place together, and after previously going public only with one-off performances, the duo shared some of the harmonies they’ve worked up in private with a four-song set they live-streamed Friday afternoon.
“You sound freakin’ great,” Cabello told Mendes after some particularly busy acoustic guitar strumming. “I’m glad you made me do this thing,” she added, making clear who was the driving force behind the joint appearance, besides the sponsoring Global Citizen organization.
Although the pair gave fans less than an hour’s notice before the stream started, the ticker in the corner showed the stream had picked up 250,000 viewers before it was over. It’ll pick up many more as it’s offered for repeat viewing on Mendes’ Instagram page.
Along with answering fan questions that scrolled across the screen they were singing into from an unspecified “jungle” hideaway, Cabello and Mendes sang their smash duet of 2019, “Senorita,” along with his “Lost in Japan,” her “Havana” and a cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Lost in Japan.”
“We’re gonna start with a cover song of our favorite person in the whole world,” Mendes said in introducing the Sheeran song. It would not have come as a complete surprise to knowing fans, as they’d previously covered it in a 2017 home video they put online. “Didn’t we do this when we were younger?” said Cabello. “Now we’re gonna do it older and not wiser.”
The pair described themselves as “social distancing in the jungle,” albeit not from one another, as they moved in tightly — and fans would say adorably — as Mendes strummed an acoustic guitar with palm trees in the background and the sound of unrelated revelers nearby occasionally interrupting their chat.
“This is a time where I think everybody should be extremely forgiving and kind to themselves, and the people in their house and their family. Because it’s scary and frustrating,” they said. “The best way of showing that compassion is distancing yourself from everybody — especially as young people” who may have older relatives at greater risk whose health concerns they need to respect.
The conversation rarely stayed that serious. Among the subjects addressed was Mendes’ far floppier than usual hair. “Brian says I need to cut my hair,” Mendes said, reading off the screen. “Brian, I disagree with you, personally,” responded Cabello. “Do not cut it,” she warned later, as the topic repeatedly recurred.
“Everybody should watch ‘Harry Potter’ top to end,” they recommended for getting through the crisis. “That’s the way to go.” Asked which Potter houses they belong to, they each said the other would be Gryffindor, although Cabello expressed skepticism that she belonged in that high-minded a house. “I want to be,” she said. Later she admitted that she was not the most hardcore fan, but defended herself against Camila-come-lately charges. “Just because it’s not in my bio doesn’t mean I’m not a fan,” she said. “To be honest with you guys, I was a little more obsessed with the ‘Game of Thrones’ series than Harry Potter, but I also love Harry Potter.”
Speaking of magic, Cabello teased the alleged mystical qualities of new music Mendes has been working on. “Don’t hype it up too much because I don’t want to let people down,” he asked. “I’ve heard some stuff and it’s pretty magical, and I’ll just say that,” she said.
The nearly half-hour stream ended on a self-care note: “Guys, before we go, we love you so much and we care about everyone. Again, I just want to say be patient with yourself. It’s just craziness, and give yourself the patience and love you deserve right now.”
The performance/chat was part of the “Together at Home” series being presented by Global Citizen to help support the World Health Organization’s Solidarity Response Fund. Other recent live-streams in the series, none quite as impromptu as this one, have included Chris Martin, John Legend, Niall Horan, Hozier and OneRepublic.
Other “Together at Home” live-streams scheduled for the coming days include Juanes, Rufus Wainwright and Lindsey Stirling, all on Saturday, and Brandy Clark on Monday.
For Variety‘s listings of what to watch on the music live-stream front this weekend, click here. Updated live-stream lists are being posted on a daily basis as the trend among musicians during the global crisis picks up even more steam.