By Casey Lewis
Just before embarking on an epic summer vacation, which he'll be spending touring the country with Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran, 17-year-old Austin Mahone made a quick stop in New York City to visit us at the Teen Vogue offices. OK, technically, he was in town to promote his new single "What About Love" on The Today Show. But he did make time to dodge through screaming girls in Times Square to pay us a visit!
The thing about Austin is that he's really, really cool. Ten minutes into hanging out, he was taking off his shoes (super rad Nike kicks) and showing us his socks (made by Trukfit and designed by none other than Lil Wayne). In addition to spilling about all things fashion, the rising star opened up about Taylor Swift, summer concerts, and girls.
Where are you based?
I'm from San Antonio, Texas, but I live in Miami now.
Do you miss Texas?
I miss Whataburger!
What did your classmates think when you first started posting videos of yourself singing on YouTube?
They didn't really think it was cool. They were like, "Why are you singing? That's so stupid. You're never going to get anywhere." They hated it. Now they're like, "You should come back and perform at our school. We miss you!"
When did you decide this was something you wanted to do?
When my YouTube videos started to get really big, I was like, "Man, this is pretty sweet." It started as my hobby, and then I started traveling and learning how to play different instruments, and then it just kind of became my life.
Who are your influences?
Ne-Yo, Trey Songz, Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson, of course, Boyz II Men, and Drake.
Do you write your own songs?
Yeah, I do a lot of co-writing with my producer RedOne, and then a lot on my own. I just like to be creative.
How do you keep training at dance and your instruments?
Music is my life. I love doing it, so I just do it nonstop all day. And with dancing, I wanted to put on a show for people. I don't want to just be sitting there doing nothing so that's when I started to dance.
Do you like fashion?
I love fashion. I like looking fresh and wearing new stuff.
How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Around 150, maybe.
Seriously?! What's your most prized pair?
I just bought these Versace shoes. I bought them for the Billboard Awards. It was a special occasion, so I decided to do it big.
What's it like to tour with Taylor Swift?
The Red Tour is pretty cool. Taylor is amazing. She's so talented, and Ed is, as well. They're awesome, and we all just like to hang out.
Have you learned anything from them?
Taylor told me to always stay humble and be the kid I was when I started.
Was it overwhelming at first to play in front of so many fans?
No, definitely not. For me, it's more exciting than anything. It's just crazy, because there are, like, 50,000 people out there.
Do you like to interact with your fans?
Yeah, I love it. With Twitter, it's important for me to update them on what I'm doing or where I'm going or what I have coming out next. A lot of times I like to go to arcades, like Dave & Buster's, with them and just hang out and play games and have pizza.
What do you like to write your songs about?
Just everyday life and things that have happened to me and things that I want to happen to me.
Of course. What else would I write about?
Why do your fans call themselves Mahomies?
I actually started it. I said it once and it just stuck.
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