Interview: Justin Bieber
The 16-year-old Biebernator talks about his new film, crazy fans and love...
At just 16 years old, Justin Bieber is a pop phenomenon. Having risen to fame through the wonder of YouTube, he's gained die-hard fans who are driven to tears at the mere sight of him, he's sold out tours around the world and his lego hair has become an institution in itself.
And now it's time for the film world to get a taste of Bieber Fever as Never Say Never, a sort of concert film documenting Bieber's launch to stardom is released.
We caught up with the little man himself and his manager, Scooter Braun at the film's press conference earlier this week...
Did you have a good time at the Brits?
Justin Bieber: I did, I did! I got to meet a lot of cool people and I got a kiss off Cheryl Cole so that was pretty cool.
What did you and Cheryl talk about?
JB: We didn’t really chat, I just gave her a kiss. I got right to business.
Do you worry about your voice changing?
JB: Everybody’s voice changes. It’s not abnormal. There are a lot of artists who have gone through vocal change such as Usher, Justin Timberlake and Michael Jackson. It hasn’t been an issue for me and if you see my movie you’ll see that my voice has changed and will continue to drop. So I’m not really worried.
And what about making the transition to adulthood, having so much success and not going off the rails like many other young stars?
JB: My team guide me in the right direction and my mum travels with me and so they definitely keep me rooted.
So where did the idea first come about to make a documentary?
JB: I didn’t really know what was going on. I was like ‘yeah that sounds cool’ and then all of a sudden this guy shows up with a camera and he just starts filming me. I’m like, ‘Who is this random guy?’ And he’s like, ‘Oh I’m making your movie.’ We became good friends.
Scooter Braun: We were going to self-finance it and put it straight to DVD but Jon Chu [the director] is the best at what he does. He took our vision and made it 100 times better. He’s a genius.
What was your initial reaction when you saw yourself in 3D?
JB: It’s kind of cool to see myself so big but at the same time it made me feel self-conscious because my face is like, so big.
Did you have to make any changes to your dance routines to incorporate filming in 3D?
JB: No! We added dancers but we didn’t really change anything.
Your fans are quite enthusiastic, to say the least. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve been asked to sign and what’s the strangest thing a fan has done?
JB: I’ve signed a cereal box before. And the weirdest thing a fan has done? I had a girl get a tattoo with my name on it and once a mum got a tattoo on her back.
SB: Wait, you’ve got to explain that. The mum got a tattoo of the DJ.
JB: You’re just ruining the whole story. The radio station had a contest and if someone got the guy from the radio station’s face tattooed on their back, then they got to come to my concert and meet me. That was pretty crazy.
Twitter and YouTube have been a big part of your success. Do you ever think now, ‘if it wasn’t for YouTube’...?
JB: It’s crazy. Without the Internet, I would never be in this place right now. But I also wouldn’t be here without my fan’s support. My fans and I have that special connection because we talk on Twitter and Facebook so really have that one-on-one connection.I really think that’s what’s important.
Bieber fever is everywhere. What is the cure? With the release of your film, you’re going to get even more girls addicted to you - aren’t you worried about that?
JB: Why would I worry about getting more fans?!
Aren’t they crazy?
JB: Yeah. But they’re loyal and they help me to be here. And B.T.W, there is no cure.
In the film you’re shown with people around you all the time. When was the last time you felt lonely?
JB: I’m fine with being by myself. I don’t get really lonely.
Do you get much time to yourself?
JB: Not a lot of time. At night, that’s my down time where I can just lay in bed and go on my computer and check Twitter and all that.
Do you ever get the opportunity to be anonymous?
JB: Not really.
Have you got a special mention for your London fans and what do you hope they’re going to get out of the movie?
JB: I want to say thank you for everything. For camping out, for being so supportive and just for being so cool. What I hope they get out of the movie is: whatever you want to be, any goal you have, just do what you love and always make sure you follow your dreams.
Do you hope the film will convert some of the people who have criticised you in the past?
JB: Yeah, I hope people go to the movie whether they’re a fan or not and see the experience that I went through. There are some people that don’t like my music because it’s not their style but if you see the movie, it can be inspiring for anybody.
I was on the Internet last night and saw a video of these guys talking about ‘Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never’ so I’m like ‘this guy’s gonna hate on me for ten minutes straight, saying that I have ugly hair, that I look like a girl and my voice hasn’t dropped.’ But then I watched the video and he says, ‘OK I’m not gonna lie, I hated Justin Bieber and now after watching this movie it got me to really respect him.’ That was really really good to hear.
Are you worried that one day this could all end?
JB: No. I mean, music is my passion so I feel like I’ll be doing this for a long time. God forbid if anything happened. I’d still write music. I see myself making music forever.
Who is your role model?
JB: Job. From the bible. Seriously! You wanna know why? He got tortured, he got his family killed, everything was taken away from him - his job, his cattle, everything - and he still remained faithful to God. He didn’t know why it happened but he still put his faith in God and remembered that everything happens for a reason. So that’s why.
How long does it take you to do your hair?
JB: Like five minutes, not even. I just rolled out of bed, came here and shook my hair.
We heard you were out very late last night. What were you up to?
JB: I wasn’t up late last night, I got in early.
We heard you were up until 8am...
JB: I was in my room and I was just laying there - I couldn’t sleep.
What were you thinking about?
JB: I wasn’t thinking about anything! I was trying to sleep, I was thinking about zee’s. And when I laid down, nothing happened. I put on soft music and that still didn’t work. It was jet-lag, not partying.
How do you feel about the press looking for stories and rumours about your private life?
JB: I was sleeping for the whole flight over here but someone said I was being rude on the flight. But I was sleeping.
SB: We’ve got to explain that one. We were in one of those seats where you push the button and the chair moves from side to side. Well I was doing that and Justin couldn’t figure out how to do his so decided to get up and go ‘Aaaah!’ with his chair [in mock frustration]. Someone called me afterwards and said, ‘is it true that Justin threw a hissy fit on the plane?’ We got a good laugh out of that.
Are there any other rumours you want to clear up?
SB: Yes. He is not dead.
JB: I’m right here.
Your songs are all about love. Where the does that come from, as a 16-year-old?
JB: Some people say ‘Oh he’s 16, what does he know about love?’ But as a kid, you love your parents and then you get to like 11 or 12 and start seeing girls and think ‘I like them’ like I wanna see that person, I think she’s cute.’ You don't really know the real meaning of love but you think you do. and then you get a little older and you’re in high school and you still think you love them but you don't really know. you're still young. And then you're 15, 16 and you might have had a girlfriend. I think love is like a learning process throughout your life. I'm still learning. I don't know everything about love. I’m still trying to figure out girls. I don’t think you’ll ever fully figure out girls. You’re supposed to laugh at that one.
Scotter, do you think Justin knows about love?
SB: We all used to listen to the Jackson Five when we were growing up. I think when you hear that kind of voice coming from a younger person, you think of that first puppy love stage. I think it reminds us of when we weren't jaded by love and actually believed in it. I think that's why the music connects so well with people. Justin’s music is natural. He’s turning 17 and he’s writing about the stuff that 17-year-olds go through. I think that’s the great thing about music - it reminds us of the timeline in our lives.
JB: My music is going to evolve and over time it’s going to be changing. I don’t know what I’ll be doing in five years. I could be doing this [starts head-banging]. Probably not though.
Read our review of Never Say Never here.