Taylor Swift and Shawn Mendes
Credit: Suzi Pratt/LP5/Getty Image

Shawn Mendes has come a long way since his days as a goofy Vine superstar. Not only does he have a hit debut album, but the baby-faced singer is also currently opening up for Taylor Swift on her 1989 World Tour. Not bad for a 17-year-old burgeoning star.

As you might expect, being one of the acts that performs before Swift is pretty awesome. “Touring with Taylor Swift is the most insane thing ever,” Mendes told InStyle last night on the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards red carpet. “It’s been amazing.” No doubt the flurry of celebrity appearances has been thrilling for Mendes, but for him Swift’s ability to perform flawlessly night after night is something that he really respects. “I think just watching her perform every night is just something so spectacular. It pushes me to want to take everything I do to the next level.”

Away from the stage, his admiration for the superstar continues. “She’s really coolest friend,” Mendes revealed. “If we have two nights, she has these barbecues and we all hang out and party. It’s so much fun.”

—With reporting by Scott Huver