“I’ve been a Taylor Swift fan for as long as I can remember,” Mendes, 20, began his brief essay praising Swift. “But it wasn’t until I met and got to know her that I understood how wonderful a person she truly is.”
The pair first became close in 2015 when Swift tapped the up-and-coming YouTube phenomenon to perform as an opening act on North American dates for her 1989 tour.
“I quickly learned that the magic of Taylor Swift doesn’t come from the lights, dancers or fireworks (although all of that is incredible) but from the electrifying connection that she has with the people who are there to see her,” he continued in the piece.
“There’s an overwhelming feeling in the air. The feeling of your heart racing in your chest with excitement — so much so that by the time you get to ‘Love Story,’ all you want to do is pick up your phone and text every person you know to say how much you love them. The feeling is so thick, you feel like you could reach out and grab it to keep forever.”
Mendes went on to credit Swift’s ability to make “creating music for millions of people look easy” to her “belief in magic and love, and her ability to be as honest and raw as possible.”
To conclude, the “Stitches” singer added, “Taylor makes anyone older feel young again and anyone young feel they can do anything. It’s so rare and so special. If there is one thing I want to achieve in my career and life, it’s that.”
In addition to Swift, TIME chose five other notables to grace their covers: Dwayne Johnson, Sandra Oh, Gayle King, Mohamed Salah and Nancy Pelosi.
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