Like him or loathe him all you want, but there is no denying the success that Justin Bieber has enjoyed so far in his young career. With record sales of over 150 million albums already (and he has yet to reach thirty years of age), Justin Bieber is poised to become the biggest selling Canadian artist of all time and will soon rank among the greatest of the greats when it comes to sales worldwide. Bieber has won several Grammy, Juno, Billboard and Brit Awards and holds several notable distinctions, such as being the youngest singer ever to top the charts as he did for his first hit, “Baby”, at age 13. His second album, Under the Mistletoe, was the first Christmas album to ever reach #1 on the Adult Pop charts. In fact, Justin Bieber has spent over half of his entire life singing chart-topping music. In his fifteen-year career, he has achieved platinum sales levels for songs such as “Baby”, “Sorry”, “Despacito”, “Love Yourself”, “What Do You Mean?”, “Monster” (with Shawn Mendes), “Peaches”, “Lonely”, “Stay” and “Ghost”. Bieber has collaborated with many of the biggest names in the music business, such as Usher, Ed Sheeran, Chance the Rapper, Ariana Grande, Ludacris and Drake. The future looks bright for this young man from Stratford, Ontario.
When Justin Bieber was just a child living with his mother in Stratford, he was already becoming known as being one of those kids who could charm the adults in his mother’s social circle with his singing and his comedic antics. His natural inclination toward performing coincided with the rise in influence of the social media performance app, YouTube. It wasn’t long before Bieber was taping himself singing and posting the results onto his own YouTube channel. The response to his videos was swift. His boyish good looks, his natural charm and singing talent all combined to generate lots of views for someone so young. As a twelve year old, Bieber posted a video of himself busking on the streets of Stratford during the famous Stratford Theatre Festival. Unknown to Bieber at the time, a US talent scout named Scooter Braun was combing through hundreds of videos looking for that special someone who could become the next big thing. When he came across Justin Bieber’s videos, he liked what he saw and decided to take a chance on the young man from Canada. Braun convinced Bieber’s mother to move with him to Atlanta, Georgia, where, under the guidance of singer Usher, Bieber was signed to a contract and prepped for the recording of his debut album. At age 13, his first album was released, and from it, his first single, “Baby”, featuring veteran rapper Ludacris. “Baby” became a #1 hit in the US and around the world. At an age when most thirteen-year-old boys are trying to figure out how much Axe Body Spray is too much Axe Body Spray, Justin Bieber was touring the world, singing in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans, and becoming a very, very rich young man. However, as much as I commend Justin Bieber for rising to the top of the music business so quickly, I always worry when young children achieve sudden fame at such a young age. It has to be tough in a weird sort of way to have access to every material possession you could ever want, to always be showered with praise for every little thing you do, and to have to bear the weight of responsibility for the careers of so many other people who make their living off of the mini-industry that you have become. Like Michael Jackson before him, Justin Bieber’s life soon became fodder for the tabloids, as he engaged in many inappropriate, attention-seeking behaviours that landed him in trouble with the law, as well as the court of public opinion. Regardless of how many albums he sells, Justin Bieber remains a polarizing figure who is adored by some and despised in equal amounts by others. Yet, through it all, Justin Bieber has maintained several long-term relationships, has become married and is hoping to be a father one day soon, too. He is well respected by other artists in the music industry and has no shortage of willing collab. partners. He is approaching the age of thirty and is still releasing music that charts and sells well, so maybe, just maybe, Justin Bieber is going to be someone who defies the trends and becomes one of the few child stars to transition well to his adult life.
Today’s song comes from his Christmas album, Under the Mistletoe, and is simply called “Mistletoe”. Justin Bieber was all of seventeen when he released this song, which became a Top Ten song in many countries around the world. It is a sweet Pop song that isn’t so much about Christmas, but more uses Christmas to tell a romantic story about a boy and a girl falling into love and kissing under a mistletoe. For those fans who were attracted to the teenage Bieber, “Mistletoe” was a song that was perfectly suited to mine their disposition. Many, many fans pictured themselves as being the one under the mistletoe with Justin Bieber, and at the time, he did little to dissuade such a notion from existing. But that is the nature of celebrity and of the entertainment industry as a whole. It is all built upon a foundation of imagery and dreams and the creation of what appear to be personal connections between performers and their fans. Like many Scooter Braun rostered artists (Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, etc…), Justin Bieber has become a master of marketing himself to his fans and making them feel as though they are all like a family. While not quite in the same league as Taylor Swift’s fans, known as Swifties, Justin Bieber’s fanbase (Beliebers) is large and possesses political and economic clout. Furthermore, they are loyal, having grown up with Bieber, standing beside him as he struggled to find himself as a teenager with more money and power than any child should have, praying with him during several medical emergencies he has endured, cheering for him as he found love and family in his later years and much, much more. There may come a time when Bieber reaches middle age and suddenly seems old but that time is not now. Justin Bieber is as productive and prolific today as he has ever been. The boy who busked on street corners in small town Stratford, Ontario is maturing and is giving every indication that his best days are still yet to come.
The link to the official website for Justin Bieber can be found here.
The link to the video of a pre-teen Justin Bieber busking on the streets of Stratford, Ontario can be found here.
The link to the official website for the Stratford Festival can be found here.
The link to the official website for the city of Stratford, Ontario can be found here.
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