Justin Drew Bieber (pronounced Bieber , born March 1, 1994) is a Canadian pop-R&B singer. Bieber was discovered in 2008 byScooter Braun, who happened to come across Bieber’s videos on YouTube and later became his manager. Braun arranged for him to meet with Usher in Atlanta, Georgia, and Bieber was soon signed to Raymond Braun Media Group (RBMG), a joint venture between Braun and Usher, and then to a recording contract with Island Records offered by L.A. Reid.
His debut single, “One Time”, was released worldwide during 2009, and charted within the top 30 in over ten countries. It was followed by his debut release, My World, on November 17, 2009, which was certified platinum in the United States, making him the first artist to have seven songs from a debut album chart on the Billboard Hot 100. His first full studio release, My World 2.0, was released on March 23, 2010 and has since received similar success; it debuted at number one and within the top ten of several countries and was certified platinum in theUnited States. It was preceded by the worldwide top-ten single, “Baby,” in January 2010.
Bieber was born on March 1, 1994, in London, Ontario and was raised in Stratford, Ontario. Bieber’s mother, Pattie Mallette, was 18 years old when she became pregnant with her son. Mallette, who worked a series of low-paying office jobs, raised Bieber as a single mother. However, Bieber maintains contact with his father, Jeremy Bieber, who married another woman and had two children. He is of paternal German ancestry with his great-grandfather immigrating from Germany to Canada. As he grew, Bieber taught himself to play the piano, drums, guitar, and trumpet. In early 2007, when he was twelve, Bieber sang Ne-Yo’s “So Sick” for a local singing competition in Stratford and placed second. Mallette posted a video of the performance on YouTube for their family and friends to see. She continued to upload videos of Bieber singing covers of various R&B songs, and Bieber’s popularity on the site grew.
2008–09: Discovery and My World
While searching for videos of a different singer, Scooter Braun, a former marketing executive of So So Def, clicked on one of Bieber’s 2007 videos by accident. Impressed, Braun tracked down the theater Bieber was performing in, located Bieber’s school, and finally contacted Mallette. Mallette was reluctant; she remembered praying, “God, I gave him to you. You could send me a Christian man, a Christian label!” However, after praying with her church elders and receiving their encouragement, she permitted Braun to fly Bieber, then 13, to Atlanta, Georgia, to record demo tapes. A week after arriving, Bieber sang for R&B singer/songwriter Usher. Bieber was soon signed to Raymond Braun Media Group (RBMG), a joint venture between Braun and Usher. Justin Timberlake was also reportedly in the running to sign Bieber, but lost the bidding war to Usher. Usher then arranged an audition with Antonio L.A. Reid of Island Def Jam Music Group, who signed Bieber to Island Records in October 2008 (resulting in a joint venture between RBMG and Island Records). At that point, Bieber and his mother moved to Atlanta, also the home of Usher and Braun, to base his career. Braun became Bieber’s manager.
Bieber in September 2009 at the Nintendo World Store
Bieber’s first single, “One Time”, was released to radio while Bieber was still recording his debut album. The song reached number 12 on theCanadian Hot 100 during its first week of release in July 2009, and later peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100. During fall 2009 it had success in international markets. The song was certified Platinum in Canada and the U.S. and Gold in Australia and New Zealand. Bieber’s first album My World, was released on November 17, 2009. Three consecutive singles, “One Less Lonely Girl”, “Love Me”, and “Favorite Girl”, were released exclusively on the iTunes store and charted within the top forty of the Billboard Hot 100. “One Less Lonely Girl” was later also released to radio and peaked within the top fifteen in Canada and the U.S., being certified Gold in the latter. My World was eventually certified Platinum in the U.S. and Canada and Silver in the UK. To promote the album, Bieber performed in several live shows such as mtvU’s VMA 09 Tour, European program The Dome, YTV’s The Next Star, The Today Show, The Wendy Williams Show, Lopez Tonight, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, It’s On with Alexa Chung, Good Morning America, Chelsea Lately, and BET’s 106 & Park with Rihanna. Bieber also guest starred in an episode of True Jackson, VP in late 2009.
Bieber performed Stevie Wonder’s “Someday at Christmas” for U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the White House forChristmas in Washington, which was broadcast on December 20, 2009, on U.S. television broadcaster TNT. Bieber was also one of the performers at Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest on December 31, 2009. Bieber was a presenter at the 52nd Grammy Awards on January 31, 2010. He was invited to be a vocalist for the remake of We Are The World for its 25th anniversary to benefit Haiti after the earthquake. Bieber sings the opening line, which was sung by Lionel Richie in the original version. On March 12, 2010, a version of K’naan’s “Wavin’ Flag” recorded by a collective of Canadian musicians known as Young Artists for Haiti was released. Bieber is featured in the song, performing the closing lines.
2010–present: My World 2.0 and My Worlds Acoustic
“Baby”, the lead single from the second half of his debut album, which features Ludacris, was released in January 2010 and became his biggest hit thus far, charting at number five in the U.S. and reaching the top ten in seven other countries. Two digital singles, “Never Let You Go”, and “U Smile” were top thirty hits on the U.S. Hot 100, and top twenty hits in Canada. According to review aggregator Metacritic, the album has received “generally favorable reviews”. It debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, making Bieber the youngest solo male act to top the chart since Stevie Wonder in 1963. My World 2.0 also debuted at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart, Irish Albums Chart, and Australian Albums Chart, and the New Zealand Albums Chart and reached the top ten of fifteen other countries. To promote the album, Bieber appeared on several live programs includingThe View, the 2010 Kids Choice Awards, Nightline, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Dome and 106 and Park. On April 10, 2010, Bieber was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. On July 4, 2010, Bieber performed at the Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular in New York City. The second single from My World 2.0, “Somebody to Love”, was released in April 2010, and a remix was released featuring Bieber’s mentor Usher. In June 2010, it reached 15 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Bieber performing at the Conseco Fieldhouse, in August 2010
On June 23, 2010, Bieber went on his first official headlining tour, starting in Hartford, Connecticut, to promote My World and My World 2.0. In July 2010, it was reported that Bieber was the most searched for celebrity on the Internet. That same month his music video, “Baby”, surpassed Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” to become the most viewed YouTube video ever. In September 2010, it was reported that Bieber accounted for three percent of all traffic on Twitter, according to an employee of the social-networking site.
Bieber began recording his second album in July 2010 in New York City. At this point, because of puberty, his voice was deeper than it was when he recorded his first album. In April 2010, the singer discussing his vocals remarked, “It cracks. Like every teenage boy, I’m dealing with it and I have the best vocal coach in the world. […] Some of the notes I hit on “Baby” I can’t hit anymore. We have to lower the key when I sing live. “British singer/songwriter Taio Cruz confirmed in July 2010 that he is writing songs for Bieber’s next album. Hip hop producer Dr. Dreproduced two songs with Bieber in July 2010 but it is unknown if they were made for the album, which is currently due for a 2011 release.
Bieber guest-starred in the season premiere of the CBS crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, aired on September 23, 2010. He played a “troubled teen who is faced with a difficult decision regarding his only brother.” Bieber will continue to appear in later episodes of the season as his character’s story progresses. Bieber will also star in a 3-D film about himself directed by Step Up 3D director Jon Chu and scheduled for a February 2011 release.
Bieber performed a medley of “U Smile”, “Baby,” and “Somebody to Love” and briefly played the drums at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awardson September 12, 2010.
Bieber announced in October 2010 that he would release an acoustic album, called My Worlds Acoustic. It will be released on Black Fridayin the United States and featured acoustic versions of songs from his previous albums, as well as completely new song called “Pray”.
On November 28, 2010 Bieber performed live on the X Factor, a musical talent show in London and received a rapturous standing ovation from the judges, who were Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh, Dannii Minogue and Cheryl Cole, as well as from the audience.
Justin Bieber’s music video for his track “Pray” off his “My Worlds Acoustic” album, shows him visiting people in need at the hospital.
According to Jan Hoffman of The New York Times, part of Bieber’s appeal stems from his YouTube channel. Long before he released his EP, My World, in mid-November, the YouTube videos attracted millions of views.” Braun recognized the appeal. Prior to flying him to Atlanta, Braun wanted to “build him up more on YouTube first” and had Bieber record more home videos for the channel. “I said: ‘Justin, sing like there’s no one in the room. But let’s not use expensive cameras.’ We’ll give it to kids, let them do the work, so that they feel like it’s theirs,” recalled Braun. Bieber continues to upload videos to the same channel and has opened a Twitter account, from which he interacts with fans regularly; his account was reported in August 2010 to have over 4.5 million followers. The accounts also serve marketing purposes; for example, Bieber’s music video for “One Time” only began selling quickly after it was uploaded to YouTube.
Usher comments that while he and Bieber were both signed at the same age, “I had the chance to ramp up my success, where this has happened to Bieber abruptly.” As a result, Usher, Braun, Bieber’s bodyguard Kenny, and other adults surrounding Bieber constantly coach him on handling fame and his public image. After signing Bieber, Usher appointed one of his former assistants, Ryan Good, to be Bieber’s road manager and stylist. Good, once nicknamed Bieber’s “swagger coach”, created a “streetwise look” for the singer which consisted of baseball caps, hoodies, dog chains and flashy sneakers. Amy Kaufman of The Los Angeles Times comments, “Though a product of a middle-class suburban upbringing in Stratford, Ontario, Bieber’s manner of dress and speech (“Wassup man, how you doin’?” or “It’s like, you know, whateva’ “) suggest he’s mimicking his favorite rappers.”
Bieber is often featured in teen magazines such as Tiger Beat, and has been labeled a “teen hearthrob”.
Crowd control problems
Bieber performing in front of a crowd in September 2009
Bieber’s popularity has caused safety concerns. While promoting My World, Bieber was scheduled to appear at Long Island’s Roosevelt Field Mall, but the performance had to be cancelled. The event got out of control, and over 35 units from the Nassau County and Garden Citypolice departments had to be called in. Several fans received minor injuries. The police arrested an Island Records senior vice-president, James A. Roppo, reportedly for hindering the police’s crowd control efforts by not sending a timely message on Twitter as instructed by the police. James Roppo pleaded not guilty to all charges. On March 24, 2010, Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, was arrested on one count of second-degree reckless endangerment and one count of second-degree criminal nuisance related to the incident. Braun pleaded not guilty to both charges and was later released.
On April 26, 2010, a scheduled promotional performance was cancelled by Australian police after several girls were injured in a crowd crush. Bieber was scheduled to sing three songs for the Channel Seven program, Sunrise. In a Twitter message after the incident, Bieber said: “I want to make this clear… I don’t cancel.” Bieber’s tweet continued, stating: “I woke up this morning to the police canceling the show for safety reasons. I’m very happy about the welcome and the love from around the world, but I want everyone to still remember my fans’ safety comes first. At the end of the day I want you all to enjoy the music.”
Target for critics, pranksters, and parodies
Bieber has often been criticized for looking and sounding younger than his age and his effeminacy, teen pop music, image, and frequent media attention. He has been a frequent target for internet bloggers and message board posters —notably by users of internet message board 4chan, users of YouTube, and various Facebook groups. Pranks have included a successful campaign to push “Justin Bieber Syphilis” to the top of the Google Trends Hot Searches list; hacked YouTube videos that were altered so as to redirect users to adult websites or trigger pop-up messages saying that Bieber had been killed in a car accident; his Last.fm photograph being changed to pornographic images; various rumors circulated, from rumors that Bieber had died, joined a cult, or even that his mother was offered $50,000 to pose topless in Playboy magazine—none of which were true. This all forced the affected companies to update their security protocols to reverse the damage, and Bieber himself tweeted to fans reassuring them that he was still living and that false rumors about his mother “just grossed and weirded [him] out.”
Most notable was the campaign to send Bieber to North Korea as part of his world tour (entitled My World Tour). This was carried out in part by 4chan, digg, and reddit users voting for the country on the tour’s website, for the free competition to nominate a bonus country for the tour—the second-placed country being Israel, which presumably was voted for by Israelis genuinely wishing to attend the concert. It is highly unlikely that Bieber would actually have been given permission by the North Korean government, or concert organizers and management, to enter the country.Universal Music Group has denied any involvement in a poll that became the target of an online prank. A spokesperson for UMG told BBC Newsthat it was a “hoax” but declined to give any further comment. Nick Collins of The Daily Telegraph speculated that “Bieber’s character also appears to strike a particularly sour note with his Internet critics, with many remarks commenting on his youthful appearance, his teen-pop songs, his image as a heart-throb to young teenage girls and his manner of speech”.
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