As if Justin Bieber's supernova status were not already bewildering enough for anyone past the age of majority, the baby-faced Canadian singer, who looks even younger than his 16 years, has just announced his first memoir, First Step 2 Forever: My Story, via HarperCollins. He may not be the youngest celebrity to write an autobiography – Drew Barrymore and Charlotte Church were both 15 when they published, respectively, 1990's Little Girl Lost and 2001's Voice of an Angel: My Life (So Far) – but he is the only one who can also boast a forthcoming 3D biopic (apparently helmed by the Oscar-winning director of An Inconvenient Truth, no less) about his prodigious rise.
Explaining this explosion in Bieberology, the singer gave potential readers some idea of the kind of pulse-pounding prose they can expect: "My fans have played such a large part in all of this and they help me live my dreams every day . . . This is just another way to say thank you to my fans."
He has a lot to thank them for. A long, long time ago, in early 2007, Bieber's mother posted on YouTube a clip of her 12-year-old son performing Ne-Yo's So Sick at a singing contest in Stratford, Ontario. The clip's phenomenal popularity won him a deal with Island Records and his 2009 album My World gave rise to commercial superlatives, making him the youngest solo male US chart-topper since Stevie Wonder in 1963, the first artist ever to score seven hit singles from a debut, and the star of the most-viewed YouTube clip to date (Baby stands at over 270 million views).
Bieber is a distinctly modern celebrity, discovered and nurtured by fans on the internet. He was a Twitter trending topic for months until Twitter changed the rules in May to reflect spiking popularity rather than consistent mentions. When Lily Allen made the mistake of mocking Bieber on the social network, she was quickly savaged by some of his 4 million followers. (Judging by his Twitter feed, First Step 2 Forever will be generous with the exclamation marks!!)
The Bieberholics' fervour is not in doubt. The singer's manager was charged with reckless endangerment and criminal nuisance after fans mobbed a Long Island mall while waiting to see their idol. The anti-Bieber camp is active too, hacking his YouTube clips, spreading death rumours and hijacking an online poll to choose a "bonus country" for his world tour (half a million wags voted for North Korea). But there's nothing his detractors can do to halt Bieber's march, nor the inevitable blockbuster sales of First Step 2 Forever. The question is not if there will be a sequel, but how soon he can get away with one.
Justin Bieber, in full Justin Drew Bieber, (born March 1, 1994, London, Ontario, Canada), Canadian singer and teen idol whose fresh-faced good looks and appealing pop songs sparked a global craze beginning in 2009.
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Bieber was raised by a single mother in Stratford, Ontario, and as a child he learned to play the drums, the piano, the guitar, and the trumpet. In 2007 he participated in a local singing competition, placing second, and his mother posted a video of his performance on the Web siteYouTube for friends and family who were unable to attend. She later uploaded other homemade videos, in which Bieber sang popular rhythm-and-blues (R&B) songs and occasionally accompanied himself on acoustic guitar, and they soon attracted attention beyond their originally intended audience. Among those who saw Bieber’s videos was Scott (“Scooter”) Braun, a music promoter and talent agent, who invited the 13-year-old Bieber to record demos at a studio in Atlanta. While there, Bieber happened to encounter R&B singer Usher and arranged an informal audition with him. Impressed by Bieber’s natural confidence and vocal talent, Usher helped sign him to a recording contract in late 2008.
In May 2009 Bieber unveiled his first single, the buoyant puppy-love song “One Time,” and six months later he released the seven-track EP My World, composed mainly of glossy R&B-influenced pop. By this time his audience had dramatically expanded to include countless preadolescent girls who considered him a heartthrob, and the recording sold more than one million copies. He replicated the feat with the full-length album My World 2.0 (2010), which debuted at number one on the Billboard album chart. Its lead single, the yearningly heartfelt “Baby”—featuring a guest appearance from rapper Ludacris—reached the top five of Billboard’s singles chart, and several other tracks landed in the Top 40. The official video for “Baby” also became the first to amass more than 500 million views on YouTube. Bieber’s enormous popularity was boosted by his allegiance to social media such as Twitter and his frequent television appearances.
Later in 2010 Bieber released the album My Worlds Acoustic, featuring stripped-down versions of his songs, and published an autobiographical book, Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever: My Story. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, a documentary film interspersed with 3-D concert footage, opened the following year. Bieber maintained his visibility with the albums Never Say Never: The Remixes (2011), a companion to the film, and the Christmas-themed Under the Mistletoe (2011), both of which hit number one in the United States and Canada. On the similarly successful Believe (2012) and Believe Acoustic (2013), Bieber introduced a more mature sound, with the hit single “Boyfriend” recalling the suave R&B of Justin Timberlake.
As Bieber entered adulthood, his celebrity often overshadowed his music. His romantic relationships (with Selena Gomez, among others) and his occasional skirmishes with the law brought him considerable tabloid attention. His 2015 album Purpose found an audience beyond his youthful fan base, with each of its first three singles reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Also in 2015, Bieber contributed vocals to Jack Ü’s Grammy Award-winning electro-pop hit “Where Are Ü Now.”