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On March 1st, 1994, a young Pattie Mallet gave birth to Justin Drew Bieber. As a young, 17-year-old mother, Pattie was already in over her head. Little did she know that baby she had just given birth to would become one of the biggest sensations to this day.
Justin was born and raised in Strafford, Ontario, a suburban town outside of Toronto, Canada. Pattie Mallet raised her child as a single mother after Justin’s father, Jeremy Bieber, left when Justin was just a toddler. Due to the fact that Mallet was now on her own, her mother and step father had a very strong influence in raising the young Justin Bieber. Pattie worked many different low paying jobs and was residing in low-income housing for the majority of Bieber’s childhood.
Although Justin’s mother was struggling financially, she made sure that Justin was given everything he needed to live a happy and healthy childhood. Justin Bieber fell in love with music at a very young age after his mother bought him a drum set for Christmas. Pattie expressed that Justin would “basically be banging on anything he could get his hands on”. A few years after receiving his first instrument, Justin began teaching himself to play the piano, trumpet and guitar. Bieber’s strong love for music only grew as he aged.
When Bieber became a young tween, he began to fan out and explore other activities including soccer and hockey. While Justin had a strong appreciation for these sports he knew that music was his true calling. At age 12, Justin Bieber created a YouTube account called “Kidrauhl”. Bieber began posting videos of himself playing the guitar and singing along. Unexpectedly, Justin’s videos began to receive a lot of attention, receiving thousands of views on his homemade videos. In 2007, Justin performed the song “So Sick” by R&B rapper, Ne-Yo, at a local talent competition in his hometown of Strafford and ended up placing second. As any proud mom would do, Pattie recorded the performance and posted it on YouTube, completely unaware of the effect that video would have on her son’s life. Within the next few weeks, the video blew up and caught the attention of music producer, Scooter Braun. Braun was blown away by the talent the young boy possessed and tracked him down. Braun made the trip from Atlanta, Georgia to Bieber’s school in Canada to see a live performance of the singing prodigy. After the performance Braun reached out to Bieber’s mother to work on getting Justin in the studio. Pattie was reluctant at first but a few months later, allowed Justin to travel with Scooter Braun to record demos for So So Def Recordings.
After just a week in Atlanta, Justin was introduced to pop sensation, Usher. Usher took the young Bieber under his wing and soon after, Justin signed to Usher and Braun’s joint venture, Raymond Braun Media Group. From there, Usher worked day and night to find a label for the young singer to sign to. In October, 2008, that label was found. Usher’s manager at the time, Chris Hicks, reached out to an associate at Island Records who signed Bieber almost immediately. Scooter Braun was chosen to be Justin’s manager while Usher continued to support the young artist. After his signing, Justin and his mother packed their bags and moved 1200 miles away to Atlanta, Georgia where he would begin recording his debut album.
In July of 2009, while still working on his first album, Bieber released his first single, “One Time”. The song was an innocent love song with an upbeat pop sound. In a later interview with V Magazine, Bieber stated ‘I don’t want to start singing about things like sex, drugs and swearing. I’m into love, and maybe I’ll get more into making love when I’m older”. Justin made a point to keep the lyrics of his songs clean and happy which catered to his primary audience composed of young girls. Within the first week of the release, the song became and international success. In the next few months, Bieber’s first single went Platinum in the United States and Canada, and gold in other countries around the world including Australia and New Zealand. Before dropping his first album, Bieber released three more singles that all made their way into the top 40 songs in the U.S. and Canada. After much anticipation from his fans, known as “Beliebers”, Justin released his debut album, “My World”, at the end of 2009. The album included only six songs but the album eventually went platinum in the U.S. and double platinum in the U.K. and Canada. “My World” was composed of fun, upbeat pop songs and one song even included a feature from Usher. Justin became popular across the world capturing the hearts of millions of young girls. This immense fame was just the beginning for this young teen.
In 2010, while working on his second studio album, Justin released the notorious song “Baby” which featured the rapper known as Ludacris. The song reached top ten on the charts in multiple countries world-wide. But with the release of the song, Justin got his first real taste of the negative effects of fame. The song brought on intense backlash due to the high pitches the prepubescent artist could sing. Many people took to social media to make fun of the fact that Justin sounded like a young girl. Bieber’s music video to the song received the most views as well as the most dislikes ever on YouTube at the time. While the intense criticism was tough on the 15-year-old boy, Justin didn’t let the hate stop him from doing what he loved. A few months after the release of “Baby” and two more promotional songs, Justin dropped his second album titled “My World 2.0” which took over the charts all across the world. The album included a song titled “That Should Be Me” which featured country group, Rascal Flatts. This was the first song in which Justin really strayed from pop as he explored the different conventions of country music. The song was a huge success and eventually won a Country Music Award. The album reached the number one spot in five countries and was in the top ten of many more. Shortly after the release of the album, Bieber began his international, headlining tour, “My World Tour”. Justin sold out dozens of shows and the tour made over $53 million dollars worldwide.
In 2010, Justin Bieber was faced with the biggest setback of his career thus far. As Justin approached 16 years old, his voice began to drop. The artist could no longer reach the high-pitched notes that were incorporated on his first two albums. While this is voice change is a part of every normal teenage boy’s life, this change could’ve been the end to Bieber’s singing career. The artist’s voice began to crack while performing leaving the artist embarrassed and upset. He knew he had to make a change in his music to accommodate his new octave. However, Bieber took this challenge head on and found a new sound that would become just as popular as his old one.
During Bieber’s headlining tour, professional videographers were present to capture the many amazing moments of the tour. After a long process of bringing all these clips together, Justin Bieber released a documentary titled “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never”. The documentary incorporated video of Justin’s live performances on tour as well as backstage footage that many “Beliebers” were ecstatic about. The film gave an inside view on the positive, as well as the negative, experiences of the popstar’s tour life. The movie was internationally popular, grossing over $30 million on its opening weekend and eventually made almost a billion dollars in total.
After the large success of Bieber’s tour and documentary, in 2012, he began working on his third album, “Believe”. The album incorporated a more mature sound that was never heard from Bieber before. While a few songs still had his signature upbeat, pop sound, Justin branched out into R&B. Justin’s mentor, Usher, assisted Justin in the transition from pop to R&B which turned out to be extremely popular with his fans. Bieber’s first single from the album, “Boyfriend”, had had a more mellow beat with a sultry sound in his lyrics. This almost seductive sound resonated extremely well with his female fans. While teen girls had been idolizing Bieber from the start, this new sound amped up their love and obsession for him. The album was adored by fans across the world and just like his previous albums, he topped the charts internationally.
Following the release of “Believe”, Justin Bieber announced his second tour called the “Believe Tour”. Similarly, to his previous tour, Bieber was the guest star on many popular television programs including The Ellen Show and Saturday Night Live. Justin’s appearance on Saturday Night Live lead to one of the first jabs at his virtually squeaky-clean image. Many of the shows actors voiced their negative opinions on working with Justin Bieber. One performer in particular, Bill Hader, stated that Bieber and his associates were not enjoyable to work with and even went on to say that in all his years of working on Saturday Night Live, Justin Bieber was the first celebrity to live up to his entitled reputation. The Saturday Night Live crew’s slander was not the only issue revolving the “Believe Tour”. During a performance in Arizona, Justin began vomiting on stage and was forced to end the show early. Following his sickness in Arizona, while performing in London, Bieber fainted backstage from a lack of oxygen and was hospitalized, causing the artist to have to cancel a few of the following shows. Justin Bieber’s insane life style was starting to catch up to him mentally and physically. In spite of all of the problems of the “Believe Tour”, the tour made almost $70 million in just 67 shows.
As seen in Justin Bieber’s previous album, the artist was starting to explore many different genres in music. Justin had begun his career with upbeat pop, dabbled in country, and transitioned into R&B. In 2013, Justin Bieber was featured on an explicit rap song titled, “Lolly” by Major Ali. The song also featured rapper Juicy J who is well known for his provocative lyrics. The song contained extremely mature lyrics that had never been associated with Justin Bieber before. The lyrics discuss many explicit topics including drugs and sex. Many parents were outraged by the obscene content due to the fact that Justin’s main audience was adolescent girls. These contoversial lyrics were just the beginning for the maturing Justin.
In 2013, Justin Bieber’s mental wellbeing was being question after being involved in multiple scandals worldwide. While performing, Bieber was hit in the head with a water bottle and immediately stormed off stage and refused to return. His fans were in disbelief. Justin’s “Beliebers” could not grasp the idea that fame and money had turned such a seemingly down-to-earth boy into an entitled diva. However, this was just the beginning of Justin’s troubles. While touring in South America, Bieber got caught participating in a number of illegal activities. In Columbia, Justin was caught graffitiing one of the largest streets in the country. He was escorted away by police but no charges were filed. A few days later, a photo began to circle the web of the 19-year-old exiting a known brothel in Rio de Janeiro. Following the infamous picture, a video had surfaced of Justin in bed with an unknown woman. Shortly after the backlash received on social media, a photographer caught Bieber once again graffitiing public property while being accompanied by his entourage. This time he was spray-painting a historically significant hotel in Brazil. The Brazilian government was outraged by the blatant disrespect displayed by foreigners in their beloved country. Prosecutors began to pursue Justin and his associates and Bieber was eventually forced to pay a hefty fine for his actions. Fans and parents were outraged that Bieber was turning into such a bad influence for his followers who consisted of many children.
While many people began to blame Justin’s actions on the money and fame getting to his head, there was another underlying cause. Justin Bieber had been in an on-again off-again relationship with actor and singer, Selena Gomez, who is assumed to be the inspiration behind many of his songs. The relationship had begun three years prior and had consisted of many good times as well as a significant amount of bad times. One of the biggest issues in the high-profile couple’s relationship was the fame surrounding them. Many of Justin’s fans had started to bash Gomez on social media and even went as far as sending her death threats. Another influential situation surfaced when a woman named Maria accused Justin of cheating on Selena with her and consequently impregnating the woman. This accusation broke Selena’s heart and started turmoil in the young couple’s relationship. Justin denied these rumors firmly and even went as far as offering a sample of his DNA to prove the baby wasn’t his. After a DNA test it was confirmed that Justin was not the father of Maria’s child but the strain that the accusation put on Justin and Selena’s relationship didn’t disappear. With the couple’s entire relationship in the public eye, as well as both of their hectic schedules, the pair struggled to keep the relationship afloat. The heartbreak Justin was experiencing due to his relationship with Selena affected his mental stability causing him to lash out in outrageous ways.
Following the scandal and heartbreak experienced by Justin, the singer announced that he had decided to release a new song every Monday for ten weeks which, in turn, would create his album “Journals”. The album continued to explore the genre of rap by featuring many famous rappers including Lil Wayne, Big Sean, and Future. Because of his expansion into rap, Justin’s audience began to shift from adolescent girls to young adults, both male and female. In addition to expanding his rap sound, Justin also dove even deeper into R&B producing a song with the notorious R&B singer, R Kelly. The song was title “PYD” which stands for “Put You Down”. The song was the most sexual project Bieber had released yet packed full of sexual innuendos. This album made it very clear to Justin’s listeners that he was no longer a little boy and he had grown into a young man.
After the release of “Journals” in 2013, the scandals surrounding Justin Bieber began to escalate. In January of 2014 after leaving a party that he had attended with his previously estranged father, Justin Bieber was arrested for a suspected DUI. In addition to the DUI charge, Bieber was also charged with driving with an expired license and resisting arrest. While in custody, Bieber told the cops that he had consumed alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs, later discovered to be Xanax. After being released on bond, 270,000 people signed an official petition to have the Canadian singer deported. Although the petition should’ve been addressed due to the number of signatures received, it was ignored by the Obama administration, infuriating thousands law-abiding citizens across the United States. A few months following Justin’s DUI charge, Bieber was accused of throwing eggs at a neighbor’s house in California. Justin and his accuser reached a settlement in court and he agreed to two years of probation, twelve weeks of anger management classes, and five days of community service, in addition to paying over $80,000 in restitution.
Justin Bieber’s scandalous lifestyle began to calm down after the release of his album “Purpose” at the end of 2014. The album incorporated all of Justin’s previous sounds while also exploring Electronic Dance Music, or EDM. The hit song “What Do You Mean” featured the popular EDM deejay, Jack U. The song took over the international charts and won a Grammy for “Best Dance Song of the Year”. While Justin’s pervious album had been more scandalous, “Purpose” featured many uplifting songs including “Purpose” and “Life Is Worth Living”. Both tracks offer inspiration to his fans that might be struggling with battles in their own life. The album as a whole showed the maturity that Justin was beginning to develop.
Soon after releasing “Purpose” Justin Bieber announced that he was going to be taking a break from music altogether to focus on himself and his mental health. He has been extremely forward about his struggle with depression, hoping that people can relate and he can provide some motivation to his followers. Justin came into the spotlight once again in 2018 after he recently married model, Hailey Baldwin. Now that the majority of his fans have matured along with him, Justin has not dealt with the unjustified hate towards his wife which he had experienced in past relationships. While the courtship was quick and the marriage happened suddenly, Justin seems to be in a much better place while focusing on his mental health and his wife’s happiness.
Justin Bieber is a perfect example of how childhood fame can negatively affect one’s mental stability. This trend of childhood stars lashing out is extremely apparent in today’s society. People need to work to understand the immense pressure these celebrities are submerged in at a young age. Stars like Justin Bieber seem so distant from the world that many people forget to see that they are real people with real emotions. These celebrities deserve to be treated with respect and that respect is not always given. While Justin has made many mistakes in his lifetime, he is proving to be changing for the better. Justin is demonstrating a new-found maturity and his fans all around the world can only hope Justin Bieber continues to be a positive influence in today’s society.
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