16 February 2010

Justin Bieber

This morning Justin Bieber was present in two of Twitter's top ten global trending topics, a feat usually reserved for big events like award shows and major sports outings. Seeing as this is just any old Tuesday in February, what gives?

We asked our Facebook friends about the teen pop phenomenon this morning and the resounding answer was, "WHO?" Still, like him or not, Bieber is a true Internet star, who was plucked from in front of his webcam in Canada and thrown into the real music world, working with heavyweights like Usher and releasing his debut album on Island Def Jam Records. Now he is even taking over Lionel Richie's singing duties in the 'We Are The World' remake. But what makes this 15-year-old stand out from the rest of the aspiring singers out there? Perhaps it's his legion of die-hard young fans.

Bieber's fame is not just buzz, either. Last November, Bieber's debut album 'My World' debuted at #6 on the U.S. Billboard 200 selling 137,000 copies in its first week. At the time, the album was the strongest debut from a new artist before Susan Boyle pounced on the scene and subsequently decimated all competition the following month. Even more impressive, Bieber became the first solo artist in Billboard's history to have at least 4 singles enter the Top 40-- before the album even dropped.

These days you can regularly find Bieber presenting at the Grammy Awards or hobnobbing with superstars like Rihanna and Beyonce (both of whom he's expressed having crushes on), but the true key to his success is never forgetting about the fans that thrust him into the spotlight in the first place (as evidenced by the riots he caused at a local mall last fall).

On Bieber's original stomping grounds, the pop star is certainly a force to be reckoned with. His YouTube page has 136 million video views and nearly half a million active subscribers. If he sings it, they will watch and listen.

Facebook and MySpace
Currently, Bieber has 1,743,255 fans on Facebook and 484,193 friends over at MySpace (at time of publishing.) The latter is maybe not all that impressive in a relative sense (by comparison, larger artist Beyonce has 1,611,244), but as newer social networking sites continue to grow where MySpace once dominated that's not too shabby at all. Here it is quality over quantity.

And as for Facebook? A simple post by Bieber with just a link to his YouTube channel and a sweet Valentines Day message received over 15,000 likes and 4,500 comments. He's definitely a social media juggernaut.

Over 1.1 million strong, Twitter is by far Bieber's greatest asset. As previously mentioned, this fervent network has the ability to start a riot, literally. Last fall, crowd control got out of hand at a mall in Long Island, NY and resulted in five people hospitalized with minor injuries and police arresting a vice president from Bieber's record label. The police's major grievance? Justin's failure to tweet his fans to cooperate with authorities in their attempts at dispersing the crowd. That's pretty major in our books.

Obviously Bieber owes a lot to the fact that the majority of his fans are young (and excitable) enough to devote unlimited amounts of time following his every tweet and musical note. The more we see Bieber around, the more we know he's definitely the one to watch.


Yeah, I rocked out with a roomful of tweens on the most romantic day of the year, and I’m proud of it!


It’s easier than ever to comment! Live out loud!

I’m 30 and I spent my Valentine’s Day with Justin Bieber. Just got my hearing back too. And yeah, that means I felt old.

I mean, my very first concert was New Kids on the Block, back in the 80’s. The fangirls at the concert know them now as NKOTB – but only because of their recent cheesy jam ‘Summertime.’ I’m talking old-school New Kids, Hangin’ Tough or The Right Stuff. Yeah, see? Old.

But back to Biebs. Girls were wearing T-shirts with puffy paint (I did that too back in the day!) and held signs saying “JUSTIN WILL YOU MARRY ME?” One girl even passed out cold for a glimpse of the 15-year-old tween sensation.

I considered ear plugs, and should have gone with my gut instinct. My hearing isn’t what it used to be, after all. I tried to play nice though – I remember the excitement of seeing your favorite boy band for the first time, after all. I was once one of those shrieking girls myself. I’m still paying for it though – dearly.

I’ve never really followed his music, but when a friend invited me, I couldn’t refuse. It was Valentine’s Day, so let’s just say I did it in the spirit of love. My first impression when Justin rocked the stage is that he was a pint-sized Tower of Power. Many of the adults just laughed or froze in terror. I did both.

Tears fell from the eyes of panicked young women who threw stuffed bears and flowers. He threw his Yankees hat out to a mob of girls who fought for it for easily three minutes. As he moved on to the acoustic part of his set, we got to know a quiet, more thoughtful Justin. He sang a melody of “classic” Justin Timberlake and Usher’s hits, U Got It Bad and Cry Me A River, in the honor of his mentors (whose music I actually dig). I shrugged, and thought, “Jeez, to him these songs are classics. To me it was only 2002.”

He sang his hit single, One Less Lonely Girl, to 14-year-old Emily, whom he brought onstage and gifted with roses. It must have been the moment of her life when he brushed his hand across her cheek (Now why can’t Ben Affleck do that for me, I ask you?!).

Speaking to Emily later, I was curious about her obsession. What does she see in him? “I just love him, he is so sexy!” she gushed. I was momentarily self-righteous. Does she know what means? Does it matter? Am I allowed to judge? The answer is ‘no’ all around. I was 14 once. Puppy love counts too, just not as much as the real deal. Trust me, I know. I’m 30. And yes, I do know that I keep on banging on about my age, but I’m trying to make a point here.

I’ve been trying to hold on to my 20s and was reluctant to let them go, so I should really thank Justin. What he’s done is helped me plant my feet firmly in my 30s. I simply appreciate him for bringing attention to the fact that I am officially, without a doubt, all grown up.




Justin Bieber MIZZ Magazine interview: 'If I wasn't a popstar I would be a chef and cook all the lovely ladies nice dinner!' Have you ever bough flowers? 'Yep, for a girlfriend once.' Best & worst gifts? 'I once got a box of coal, which is just plain weird! I got someone's soul, too - OK, I'm kidding, totally kidding! I got a box of chocolates one Valentine's, that was nice!'

To which celeb would you send a Valentine's card? 'I'd have to say Taylor Swift. She has the most amazing eyes and she's just so pretty. Plus, I went on tour with her!' What are the singns that someone's into you? 'For me, some girls just like, stare at me! That's a clue, I guess. When I'm into someone, I basically just smile or give them a wink!'Scan Credit: JustinDrewDaily.

LA Times Blog reviewed Justin's show: Bieber is a born charmer, occasionally riffing alongside his four backup dancers before alighting on a monitor to reduce the front rows to quivering devotion. And that voice is no studio trick; he tackled melismatic trills, sassy street inflections and coffeehouse acoustic pleas without so much as tousling his considerable bangs.


At Six Flags on Feb 15th.


From the Palladium in Hollywood on Valentines.

Dan Kanter is the guitar player that usually accompanies Justin when he does live performances. If you want to see more of their videos together then go here.

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