On March 1st, 1994, a boy was born in Canada who would one day grow to be one of the biggest pop music stars in history. Justin Bieber’s story is truly one of the modern young star, a combination of talent and technology that would lead him to his place of prominence on the music charts and in the hearts of young women all over the world.
When Justin was just 14 years old, Bieber had uploaded videos of himself performing songs. As an increasing amount of people heard about this talented boy on the Internet, Justin began to develop something of a digital following. Rather than taking the normal route of musicians in past years, that is, touring the country in the hopes of attracting the attention of a talent scout and signing a contract, Justin had amassed his hype through an entirely digital medium. Braun, impressed by the boy’s talent, became Justin’s manager and set up a meeting between Bieber and famous R&B recording artist, Usher. After this meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, Bieber signed with Raymond Braun Media group and released his first single a year later by the name of One Time. The single was met well throughout the world, peaking at number 10 in Canada. Later that year, Bieber released his debut album, My World, a record which would go on to sell more than 1 million copies. He rocketed so quickly to superstardom that seven songs from his debut album would eventually be on the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time. Bieber is the first recording artist in history for whom this is true.
In March 2010 Bieber released My World 2.0, an album which debuted at the top spot on the charts and would go on to sell more than 2 million copies in the US alone. The album was so successful that it would go at least gold (500,000 copies sold) in 14 different countries. In fact, in Brazil, the album has been certified diamond, meaning it has sold more than 10 million copies in that country. To introduce the album to the world, Bieber released the single My Baby early, and the music video today has become the most viewed and discussed video on Youtube. In order to further publicize his smash-hit album, Bieber went on his My World Tour. Not long after finishing that tour (and releasing a 3D biopic/concert in movie theaters, which had an opening weekend which almost broke the record for a concert-film released in theaters) Justin released Under the Mistletoe. His second studio album, a holiday album released in November 2011, debuted, again, at number 1 on the Billboard 200. This was after receiving the 2010 Artist of the Year award at the American Music Awards, the first of what is sure to be an onslaught of future accolades.
But that is all just part of the story, the bare minimum. To learn about Justin Bieber, you have to know more than the entertainer, you have to know the person.
Raised in Stratford, Ontario, Justin was the son of a teenage mother, Patricia Lynne Mallette. Justin would grow up in a home not unlike many modern families, raised as Patricia utilized the help and support of her parents to raise her son as she worked a series of low-paying jobs, trying to make ends meet in low-income housing. Bieber lived something of an average life for a young Ontario boy. He had regular contact with his father and attended French immersion school, a common practice in the country.
Like many boys, Justin’s interests were in part centered on sports, though chess and music held his attention as well. When not playing hockey or soccer, he could be seen teaching himself piano, drums, guitar, and trumpet. He tended to keep his musical aspirations to himself when among his peers, but in 2007, at age 12, he sang for a local singing competition and placed 2nd. His mother soon posted the performance on Youtube so that her family and friends could share in the pride she had in her son, and would continue to post more videos as Justin’s performances became more frequent. It was not long before Justin’s audience far exceeded the crowd at the venues, as thousands came to watch and listen to the boy sing.
The story of how Justin’s talent was “discovered” is something of a modern fairy tale. A former music executive at So So Def Recordings, Scooter Braun, was actually looking up music for another artist when he clicked on a video of Justin accidentally. So impressed was Braun by what he saw that he tracked down Bieber’s mother and gave her a call. Though at first reluctant, Patricia did eventually allow Braun to fly with Bieber to Atlanta, Georgia to record some demo tapes. The recordings went so well that within a week, Justin was singing for Usher, who beat out Justin Timberlake in the bidding for what was as close as they would come to a sure thing in the music industry. With the success of this session, Bieber and his mother decided to move to Atlanta temporarily, also deciding to make Braun Justin’s manager.
The label was so excited to see how Justin would be received by the world that they released his first single One Time before his debut album was released. During only its first week of release, the song climbed to number 12 on the Canadian Hot 100. Later in 2009, the song received international acclaim, landing Justin his turn in the spotlight. The song would go on to sell over 1 million copies in Canada and the US and over 500,000 in Australia and New Zealand. On November 17th, 2009, Justin released his debut album, My World, to an eager worldwide audience. The second single off that record, One Less Lonely Girl, would be certified gold in America. The album would sell over 1 million copies in the US, selling over 2 million in Canada and the UK.
After performing at a staggering number of venues and performing for numerous television productions from the VMAs to SNL, Bieber released his second album, My World 2.0 in March of 2010. The album debuted at number 1 on the US charts. With this accomplishment, Bieber became the youngest act to reach the top of the charts since Stevie Wonder did it almost 50 years prior. The album would go on to exceed its staggering mark of 283,000 records in a week during its second week. That puts Bieber in some remarkable company, as the only act to ever debut at number 1 on the charts and sell more the second week than they did during the first were The Beatles.
My World Tour was one of the most successful concert tours in modern history. After all was said and done, the tour grossed over 36 million dollars. The public was more than ready for Justin to tour, and Justin’s concert at Madison Square Garden sold out in under 22 minutes as people scrambled to their computers trying to get a ticket. It was at this venue that the DVD Never Say Never, a filming of the concert was recorded. What is more remarkable than even this information is that tickets sold for this concert at a slow pace compared to other places around the world. The show in Ireland sold out in half the time, selling 28,000 tickets in 10 minutes. What’s more, 4 shows in Australia sold out in seconds.
Two months following the release of second album, Bieber went on his first headlining tour, aptly named My World Tour. The success of this tour, combined with the successful marketing of his talent, has made Justin Bieber an entertainment juggernaut, a pop music icon before the age of 20.
Despite his meteoric rise to fame, Justin has not let his fame change who he is, and in fact has used it to help others. According to DoSomething.org, Justin is the second most charitable celebrity, trailing only Lady Gaga. This recognition is due in no small part to his work promoting his Believe charity. Believe continues Bieber’s tradition of using the Internet to harness the true power of his fans to help the less fortunate.
Believe is a charity which has been receiving a lot of recognition for the good work it accomplishes and the manner in which it raises money. Rather than setting up a foundation for a group of people in need, Justin has set up a sort of fundraising hub, where people can go to support any number of charities. They simply choose the charity they would like to support and donate. The truly revolutionary part of this is that there is another, more involved way his fans can contribute to worthwhile causes. Fans can actually use the Believe website to set up a fundraiser of their own, with the proceeds of that fundraiser going to the charity of their choice (provided they choose from the many available sites on the website).
More than simply organizing a formal method of fundraising for worthwhile causes, Justin also fundraises on the fly, volunteering not only the proceeds from events and albums, but his time as well. In fact, during a trip to the Far East, Justin decided he could auction off his time to support Pencils of Promise, an organization that has decided 75 million children not having access to quality education is simply unacceptable. This organization has set up the page schools4all.org to help people get started with their own fundraising pages to help build schools in some of the poorest nations around the world.
While there is no shortage of stories about young people achieving stardom too quickly and having no idea how to handle it when the fame fades, it seems Justin has as good a shot as any to succeed long after his every step is front page news. Given his charity work, it seems a fair bet to say that, while music may well be a part of his life for the foreseeable future, it may also simply be the vehicle he uses to make a difference. Over a dozen charities have benefitted from Justin’s hard work and dedication to various causes, and as his fame grows it seems the only thing capable of keeping pace is his generosity. If there is one good thing about reaching such fame at such a young age, it is that the person is still capable of redefining himself, still young enough to forge an entire new identity at a moment’s notice with little collateral damage. Therefore, it may very well be that we have only seen a small portion of what Justin will do to make a difference with his life, and if he continues his drive get people involved in his efforts, he might inspire others to help in any way they can.
- Justin’s Twitter Page
- All Things Bieber
- Justin’s Myspace Page
- Bieber Info from MTV
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- Justin’s Facebook Page
- Never Say Never
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- Bieber Fever Fansite
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- Justin’s Music
- Justin Bieber Zone
- Hollywood Life: Justin Bieber
- Justin Bieber News from Perez Hilton
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- Discuss Justin with Other Fans
- The Hollywood Gossip
- Justin’s IMDB Page
- Justin Bieber Fan Site
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- Celebrity Buzz: Justin Bieber
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- Justin Bieber Profile – People Magazine
- Music and Videos
- Justin Bieber Source
- Justin Bieber UK Site
- Coco Perez: Justin Bieber News and Gossip
- Justin Bieber Celebrity Profile
- Bieber on VH1
- FanPop: Justin Bieber Facts
- News and Interviews
- Pencils of Promise
- Justin Bieber Shop
- Justin Bieber Profile – Access Hollywood
- Justin Bieber VIP
- Radar Online – Justin Bieber News
- E! Entertainment: Justin Bieber
- Justin Bieber Fan Page