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Shawn Mendes' MTV Unplugged Cover Of 'Use Somebody' Might Point To His Future

The singer-songwriter tells MTV News why he's covering Kings of Leon and what it could mean for his next album

From 2008 until approximately 2012, you could not go anywhere in public without hearing Kings of Leon's juggernaut of a stadium singalong anthem "Use Somebody." And actually, maybe you still can't, although my guess is it's not played as much anymore in malls or restaurants or on the radio (but still played a lot). Shawn Mendes, being a human and everything, knows this, and grew up listening to "Use Somebody" as we all did.

It's fitting, then, that Mendes chose to cover the song as part of his MTV Unplugged show, filmed at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles and set to air on Friday, September 8. After all, "Use Somebody" may well come to represent what Mendes' future sounds like.

"It means a lot, and the main way [is] it's where I want people to see me as a performer and as a singer and as an artist going," he told MTV News recently. "I think the way that that song sits in me, I guess — that sounds kind of weird — but when I am singing it, it feels very much so my song."

"It feels very, like, this is the type of feeling I should be singing," Mendes continued, "and I hope that that kinda comes across because I think in the next few years, my music will start to lean a little bit more in that direction."

In fact, Mendes had planned a different cover song to sing — as covers are a storied tradition in the Unplugged realm — but once he and his band started playing "Use Somebody" during a practice, he knew it had to be that one instead: "It just sounded immediately better than the other song. After we practiced it 50 times, it sounded immediately better, and it just kind of flowed out of all of our fingers, and I was singing it like it was my song, and we were just like, OK, well now we have to use this."

You can hear Shawn Mendes' new cover of "Use Somebody," as well as an index of his biggest hits, when MTV Unplugged returns to TV on Friday, September 8 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.