The teen singer may be unknown, but he's white-hot on iTunes

By Miles Raymer
Updated July 11, 2014 at 04:00 AM EDT

He’s a 15-year-old Bieber-esque Canadian who posts cover songs on Vine — and has now turned his six seconds of fame into a No. 1 single on iTunes. His piano-driven power ballad ”Life of the Party” sold 150,000 copies in its first week of release, landing at No. 24 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 (without radio promotion). As a kid — well, a younger kid — Mendes says he was obsessed with YouTube cover videos. ”I would come home from school and watch them from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. every night,” he admits. More recently, he’s kept busy touring with MAGCON (a series of fan meet and greets with a handful of Vine ”stars”), attending high school, and finishing up his debut album for Island Records. ”I looked on iTunes and there was ‘Rude’ by Magic! and ‘Problem’ by Ariana Grande — seeing my song up there with them is a feeling I can’t describe.”