Justin Bieber

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About Justin Bieber

There’s a moment in a 2020 interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe where Justin Bieber begins—quietly, hesitantly—to cry. “It was hard for me being that young and being in the industry, and not knowing where to turn, and everyone telling me they love me, and just turning their back on you in a second,” Bieber says, each clause kicking up memories like dust. The point isn’t to weep with or for him—he’s had more dreams come true in his first 25 years than most people manage in a lifetime. But he’s also one of the few pop stars of his generation to have truly grown up in public, weathering the cable newsification of celebrity culture in the internet era while still trying to develop as both an artist and a person. Even early on, you could tell he had his eye on the future, balancing a doe-eyed wholesomeness with earnest attempts at hip-hop and R&B, material that suited him as a kid with material that reflected his growth into adolescence and adulthood. Some teen-pop singers end up trapped in amber; Justin Bieber has, knocks and all, kept swimming. Born in London, Ontario, in 1994, Bieber was famously discovered when his future manager, Scooter Braun, stumbled on some performance videos that Bieber’s mom had uploaded to YouTube to share with family and friends. Braun, who understood not only Bieber’s appeal but the potential of the internet, encouraged him to keep making videos and keep the equipment cheap—an approach that not only helped Bieber’s growing fanbase to understand that he was still just a kid like them, but drafted a new blueprint for how artists could reach audiences in the digital era. With the exception of a voice change around 2011, 2009’s My World, 2010’s My World 2.0, and 2012’s Believe are more or less of a piece: the sound of a boy trying to stick the landing into puberty. Released in 2015, Purpose showed Bieber developing a more thoughtful connection to his material, including collaborations with vanguard pop producers like Diplo, Skrillex, and Benny Blanco. After a five-year break during which Bieber underwent significant personal changes—including a detox from touring life, a diagnosis of Lyme disease, and a epiphanic marriage to Hailey Baldwin—he came back with 2020’s Changes. “People have been putting me on a pedestal,” Bieber told Apple Music. "I didn’t ask for that. Obviously I love making music, but there are a lot of people that love making music and they’re not in the position that I’m in. I’m just trying to steward that wisely, steward my relationship wisely. I want people to take a look at my story—hopefully, my words can make a difference.”

London, Ontario, Canada
March 1, 1994
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