“Bieber has, since the age of 15, been a massive, global star. His debut EP, My World, released in 2009, and the album My World 2.0, released the next year, both went platinum in under two months. The 3-D film “experience” Never Say Never (2011) is to Beliebers what A Hard Day’s Night (1964) was to Beatlemaniacs, if A Hard Day’s Night were shot in Imax, at Madison Square Garden. In other words, he has been drowned in love and affection—and their scary offshoot, obsession—for about as long as Obama has been in the White House. So, even as he begins to actualize as a real adult human, as he begins to individuate from his mother and his manager, Scooter Braun, Bieber probably has to break away from us, too. He’s coming out from beneath those beautiful bangs and superproduced hooks to become something more like himself (Bieber unplugged!). Because, good, bad, worshiped, and cut down to size, Bieber up to this point has been a part of us. But now, as he readies to release his new album, he is remaking himself on his own terms.” interview Magazine
“I grew up in a really rural town, Stratford, Ontario, with 30,000 people. There’s a big festival thrown in the town. A lot of people travel from all over the world to see it, and growing up, I actually used to busk on the street. I’d play my guitar, sing, and people would throw money in the case. That was really fun, and I actually got enough money to bring my mom to Florida to go to Disney World, because I always wanted to go but we never had enough money. Growing up, I played a lot of sports. I played hockey and basketball and soccer.” When asked how growing up in Ontario was.
Interview by Martha Stewart: Excerpts
STEWART: When did you know it was music that was going to be your thing?
BIEBER: Honestly, it was never something that I was going to do for a living. At 13 you’re not even thinking about that, you know? I was just playing for fun and uploading videos on YouTube because I wanted to show my family. That’s when Scooter found me.
STEWART: Who were your musical influences at that time?
BIEBER: I listened to a lot of Michael Jackson growing up. A lot of Boyz II Men. I loved Mariah Carey. Just big vocalists. I was always that kid who just wore whatever and did whatever. And my mom always supported that. So I always looked up to Michael because he was never afraid to just be himself, never tried to be anything that he wasn’t.
STEWART: And how did Scooter contact you?
BIEBER: He kind of stalked me, basically. He got in touch with a lot of people in Stratford because he couldn’t get in touch with me. My mom’s last name is Mallette, and my last name is Bieber, so he contacted my great aunt, who I’d never met before. He contacted the school board. My mom was getting all these messages saying, “This guy named Scooter is trying to get in touch with you.” After a while, it got kind of creepy to my mom, so she finally gave him a call to tell him to stop calling. She ended up talking to him for about two hours. They kept in touch, and we eventually made a trip out to Atlanta to see what he’s about and to see what kind of connections he could get.
STEWART: He encouraged you to do your first album. Had you been thinking about doing an album, or was this something new and amazing to you?
BIEBER: No, I never really dreamed of it. I didn’t know about anything like that. So when Scooter was contacting us, I started to think, like, “Wow, this could actually be my life. I could actually do this for a living and make music and travel the world.” So that’s when I started getting excited. And when I moved down to Atlanta, I met Usher …
STEWART: Did you drop out of school, Justin?
BIEBER: No, I finished high school with a 4.0 GPA.
STEWART: You did, okay. And, in 2010, you released My World 2.0. And “Baby” went platinum. That must’ve been so exciting. You really changed your life.
BIEBER: I did. I moved from Stratford to Atlanta, and I met Usher pretty much right away. And that’s the relationship that got me the platform, really, to do everything. When he signed me, he called all the radio stations with me and got them to believe in me. We worked with a lot of great people from the start. Tricky [Stewart] and The-Dream actually wrote “Baby,” and they wrote a lot of big hits like “Single Ladies” by Beyoncé. So it was cool to be able to work with them right from the jump. We released that as the first single, and, like you said, it went platinum.