Also Credited As:Justin Drew Bieber
|Actor, Producer, Music|
|Justin Drew Bieber on March 1, 1994 in Stratford, Ontario, CA|
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Justin Drew Bieber was born on March 1, 1994 in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. Raised by his single mother, Pattie Mallette, the future star was an avid hockey and soccer player, but amazingly taught himself how to play the piano, guitar, trumpet and drums. Bieber also dabbled in singing until age 12 when he got serious and entered a local talent competition. Though he only placed second, the experience provided the future star with the desire to entertain for a living. With his mother's help, Bieber began posting videos of himself on YouTube in 2007 where he covered songs by Stevie Wonder, Usher, Justin Timberlake and Ne-Yo. The videos were initially filmed so that out-of-town family and friends could watch Bieber's performances. The homemade videos started getting more and more views - mostly from teen girls who in Bieber, foresaw a future heartthrob - until they eventually caught the attention of various music industry insiders. One of these was Scooter Braun, former marketing executive for the record label So So Def Recordings.
Through his YouTube videos Braun saw Bieber's star potential and began managing his career. He flew his young client to Atlanta, GA for a meeting with singer, songwriter and actor Usher. Impressed by Bieber's natural talent and charm, the R&B star set up an audition for Antonio L.A. Reid, the Chairman and CEO of Island Def Jam Music Group. Another of Bieber's musical idols, former boy band member-turned-legitimate superstar artist Justin Timberlake met with the teen singer around the same time and was interested in signing him to his record label, as well. A bidding war reportedly ensued between the two camps until Bieber eventually chose Usher as a mentor and signed with Island Records. Even though they kept their home in Stratford, the singer and his mother moved to Atlanta to start working on his debut album. Bieber's YouTube videos were still receiving millions of views without there being a single or music video in rotation anywhere. However, MTV invited Bieber to be a presenter at the "2009 Video Music Awards," which boosted his mainstream exposure.
Bieber's up-tempo single "One Time," released in July 2009, reached the Top 20 on Billboard's Hot 100 charts. His following three singles - "One Less Lonely Girl," "Love Me," and "Favorite Girl" were all released within two months and sold exclusively on digital music giant iTunes. The barrage of hits only boosted Bieber's profile and earned him a place in Billboard history. The Canadian singer became the first solo artist to enter the Top 40 of the Hot 100 charts before an album's release. On Nov. 17, 2009, Bieber's debut album, My World was finally released. That same day, the singer treated his fans to a free concert at Universal Citywalk in Hollywood. Hundreds of squealing teenagers flocked to catch a glimpse of Bieber performing songs off My World, including the hit single "One Time." The record label also included special "golden tickets" in a few copies of the album which guaranteed the lucky winners various prizes - from a walk-on role in a Bieber music video to a private concert with the teen heartthrob. The singer's brand of urban pop - inspired by the musical styles of his mentor Usher and idol Timberlake - helped the album reach platinum sales both in the U.S. and his home country. That same month, Bieber took the United Kingdom by storm when he opened for Taylor Swift's sold-out concerts in London.
However, not all of Bieber's public appearances worked out as smoothly as his team had planned. In November 2009, thousands of fans showed up to Roosevelt Field Mall in Long Island, NY for a "meet-and-greet" with the singer. While waiting for his arrival, the crowd of over 3,000 crammed inside the shopping center and the situation careened quickly out of control. Some young fans were reportedly injured and hospitalized as local police units were called in to handle the mob of excited teens and angry parents. Authorities banned Bieber from entering the building and arrested Island Records senior vice president James A. Roppo for getting in the way of the police. The singer encouraged fans to go home after finding out about the cancellation and apologized for the situation via the social networking site Twitter.com. Roppo later pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The unfortunate incident in Long Island did little to hurt Bieber's career nor his status as a teen sensation. The singer's wholesome appeal propelled him all the way to the White House for the TNT holiday special, "Christmas in Washington." Bieber performed the classic tune "Someday at Christmas" for a highly esteemed audience that included President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. A few days later, the young star rang in the New Year as a performer at "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest" (ABC, 2009). In January 2010, Bieber made his debut on music's biggest night, where he introduced Bon Jovi's performance at the "52nd annual Grammy Awards" (CBS). The day after the Grammys, he joined some of the most legendary names in music - including Celine Dion, Kanye West and Barbra Streisand - for a remake of the 1985 hit "We Are the World." The track was re-recorded by contemporary artists as well as some of those involved with the original recording to celebrate its 25th anniversary and to raise money for victims of a devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake that had hit Haiti earlier that month. The music video for the 2010 version of "We Are the World" debuted during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics (NBC, 2010). Reviews for Bieber's inclusion in the song and video were mixed. True music lovers were appalled; the Clearasil crowd was clearly pleased.
In March 2010, My World 2.0 - the second part of Bieber's LP debut - was released. The album's lead single, "Baby," a melodic collaboration between the young singer and rapper Ludacris, stormed the charts. The duo united on stage to perform "Baby" during the televised concert "SOS Saving Ourselves: Help for Haiti" (BET, 2010), which also benefited relief efforts for the Haiti earthquake. That same year, Bieber made his film debut in the made-for-television feature, "School Gyrls" (Nickelodeon), making a cameo in the Nick Cannon-directed movie about a real-life girl group.