Girls Love Me

Can Austin Mahone become a real live global superstar?
Photograph by LeAnn Mueller

Pretty much everything Austin Mahone does—sing, dance, smile, smirk, wink, wave, laugh, sigh, cough, breathe—drives girls completely nuts. Unlike most sixteen-year-old boys, he never disappoints them, and they respond with unwavering adoration. In February, however, he had reason to be nervous. He was about to sing before two of the largest live audiences of his fledgling career—1,300 screaming fans in Nashville, followed by 1,600 outside Chicago—and he still had a lot to learn. The atmosphere in the Nashville rehearsal studio where he was practicing was that of a late-night cram session. As he ran through covers of songs by Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber, Ne-Yo, Drake, Adele, and others, his mother, Michele, coached him repeatedly to enunciate and make eye contact. Lori Cox, a local band manager who had been hired as a consultant, told him not to strum his guitar so hard. She also warned him not to eat or drink dairy products before the show, which seemed to surprise him. What was bothering him most was how to begin and end the concerts. “Anybody have any ideas for what I do when I come onstage?” he asked, doing a robotic goose step. “And how do I know if they want an encore? Do they shout, ‘Encore, encore’?”

This was unfamiliar territory for Austin. Most of his singing career has taken place in his one-story brick home on the north side of San Antonio, where, from the comfort of his bedroom, he dances, sings, or makes idle conversation

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