Entertainment Music

Tuesday 17 September 2019

Justin Bieber: From covering songs on YouTube to global stardom

The singer reflected on his career and admitted making some ‘terrible decisions’.

Justin Bieber rose to fame after being discovered on YouTube (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Justin Bieber rose to fame after being discovered on YouTube (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

By Keiran Southern, PA Los Angeles Correspondent

Justin Bieber was plucked from the relative obscurity of YouTube to become one of the world’s biggest pop stars.

His mother, Pattie Mallette, had been sharing videos of her 13-year-old son covering R&B songs when talent manager Scooter Braun accidentally clicked on a 2007 performance.

After Braun convinced Ms Mallette to allow him to move Bieber from his native Canada to the US and manage his career, his rise to pop stardom began.

He released his debut EP, My World, in November 2009. Boosted by the singles  One Time and One Less Lonely Girl, it was certified platinum in the US.

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Justin Bieber was a fresh-faced teenager when he first found fame (Niall Carson/PA)

Further success followed with Bieber’s maiden album, My World 2.0, in 2010.

Powered by the hugely popular single Baby – which today has more than 2.1 billion views on YouTube – My World 2.0 topped charts around the world and made the young singer a global star.

It broke sales records held by artists including Stevie Wonder and The Beatles and spawned Bieber’s first ever headlining worldwide tour.

But with the success came scrutiny and Bieber, still only a teenager, became one of the internet’s favourite targets. Critics frequently used his songs to decry the standards of modern music.

Despite the criticism, Bieber’s second studio album, Under The Mistletoe, arrived in 2011, in time for Christmas, and was another success, reaching number one in the US and Canada.

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Justin Bieber won an army of fans around the globe following the release of his debut album in 2010 (PA)

However, away from the stage, Bieber earned a reputation for being spoiled and petulant.

He started having run-ins with the law, including an accusation of reckless driving in California in 2012 and an allegation of vandalism in Brazil in 2013.

A neighbour in the highly sought-after Calabasas area of southern California, which is also home to Canadian rapper Drake and the Kardashian family, accused Bieber of throwing eggs at his house in January 2014.

Later that month Bieber was arrested in Florida on suspicion of driving under the influence. Prosecutors dropped the charge after the singer made a donation of 50,000 US dollars (about £42,000) to a youth charity as part of a plea deal.

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Justin Bieber’s hits include What Do You Mean? and Sorry (Yui Mok/PA)

The arrest – along with the notorious mugshot of a 19-year-old Bieber smiling while wearing a prison-issue jumpsuit – seemed to confirm people’s suspicions he had been given too much, too soon.

An online petition calling for the Canadian to be deported from the US attracted more than 100,000 signatures, though the Obama administration declined to make any substantive comment.

In July 2017, Bieber was banned from China, with Beijing saying it was not appropriate to allow in entertainers who have engaged in “bad behaviour”.

Despite his legal troubles, Bieber’s music career remained as strong as ever, with albums Believe (2012) and Purpose (2015) cementing his status as one of the world’s biggest pop stars.

After a high-profile, on-and-off relationship with US singer Selena Gomez, Bieber married model Hailey Baldwin last year.

In a lengthy Instagram post on Monday, he reflected on his early career and admitted making some “terrible decisions”.

He said he started doing “pretty heavy drugs” at the age of 19 and became “resentful”.

However, Bieber, now 25, ended the message on a positive note and said he is enjoying the “best season of my life” with his marriage to Baldwin.

He said: “You learn patience, trust, commitment, kindness, humility, and all of the things it looks like to be a good man.”

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