Justin Drew Bieber, singer, songwriter, actor (born 1 March 1994 in London, ON). Teen pop phenomenon Justin Bieber exploded on to the mainstream music scene in the summer of 2009 after first becoming a YouTube sensation. With a string of hit singles from a quick succession of top-selling albums — he is the first artist to have five No. 1 records on the Billboard album chart before his 19th birthday — he quickly became one of the biggest pop stars and celebrities in the world. He consolidated his popularity with music videos, concert films, television appearances and global touring. His fans, called “Beliebers,” have made him a social media superstar. While generally less admired by music critics, he has sold more than 15 million albums, and won many Canadian and international awards, including multiple Juno Awards, a Grammy Award and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Bieber was born in London, ON to 18-year-old Pattie Mallette and 19-year-old Jeremy Bieber. His parents never married and split up when he was a toddler, though his father has remained actively involved in his life. Bieber grew up in low-income housing in Stratford, ON, with his mother, who worked a series of office jobs. He showed a facility for music as early as age four. As a child he took drum lessons and taught himself how to play piano, guitar and trumpet.
In 2007, after Bieber competed in a local singing contest with a cover of Ne-Yo’s “So Sick,” his mother uploaded a video of his performance to YouTube for friends and family to see. It became a viral hit, so she uploaded several other videos of the baby-faced, mop-topped teen singing R&B and pop songs, including clips of him busking on the steps of the Stratford Festival’s Avon Theatre. He earned more than $3,000 from busking, which paid for a vacation he and his mother took to Disney World.
While researching another singing prospect, American talent executive Scooter Braun discovered Bieber’s YouTube clips, which had amassed more than one million views. Braun flew the 13-year-old to Atlanta, GA, to record and meet with R&B star Usher, who arranged an audition for him with Antonio “L.A.” Reid of Island Def Jam Music Group. Justin Timberlake also expressed interest in the young singer, but Reid signed Bieber to Island Records in October 2008. Bieber and his mother moved temporarily to Atlanta, where Braun became the teenager’s manager; Bieber also had vocal lessons and private tutoring, as well as “swagger coaching” from stylist Ryan Good.
Bieber quickly achieved international commercial success. His first single, "One Time," released in July 2009 while he was still recording his debut album, was a Top 20 hit in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. It was certified platinum in Canada and the US, and was followed by three more hits: "One Less Lonely Girl" was a Top 10, platinum-certified single in the US; while the promotional singles "Love Me" and "Favorite Girl" were Top 20 hits in Canada and cracked the Top 40 in the US. His seven-song EP My World debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 album chart when it was released in November 2009, and became the first debut record to have seven songs chart on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was certified double-platinum in Canada and the UK, and platinum in the US, Germany and Austria.
On the strength of this success, Bieber made a string of media appearances in the fall of 2009 and performed for President Barack Obama during the annual Christmas in Washington television special. Bieber was also invited to sing on a remake of "We Are The World" and a cover of K'naan's "Wavin' Flag," both of which were organized to raise money for Haitian relief efforts following the earthquake there in early 2010.
Bieber’s momentum was maintained when a second album, My World 2.0, quickly followed in March 2010 and debuted at the top of the sales charts in Canada, the US, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. Bieber became the youngest male solo artist to achieve that feat in the US since Stevie Wonder in 1963. The album had a slightly more mature sound and a bigger R&B element than his debut. The lead single, "Baby," featuring rapper Ludacris, became a ubiquitous international hit, reaching No. 3 in Canada, No. 5 in the US and No. 1 in France. “U Smile,” “Never Let You Go,” “Somebody to Love” and “Eenie Meenie” (with Sean Kingston) also charted well internationally; the latter two were certified platinum in the US. My World 2.0 charted in the Top 10 in 20 countries and sold over five million copies worldwide.
In order to exploit the enormous youth appeal of Bieber's blend of bubblegum pop and soulful R&B, and to give the singer an opportunity to prove that his voice could stand on its own without studio augmentation, My Worlds Acoustic was released in November 2010. The album, which included nine acoustic versions of songs from My World and My World 2.0, and a new track titled "Pray," charted in the Top 10 in Canada and the US, and was certified platinum in Canada.
Never Say Never — The Remixes followed in February 2011. It featured remixes of songs from Bieber’s debut EP, with guest appearances from Miley Cyrus, Chris Brown, Kanye West and others. It reached the top of the album chart in the US, where it was certified platinum, peaked at No. 5 in Canada and also charted well internationally. Bieber's 2011 holiday album, Under the Mistletoe, featured new and old Christmas songs. It debuted at the top of the American album chart, making him the first solo artist to have three No. 1 albums in the US before his 18th birthday. It also topped the Canadian chart, and was certified triple-platinum in Canada and platinum in the US.
Bieber’s voice deepened due to puberty while he recorded his next studio album, Believe (2012), which featured a bigger dance-pop component than his earlier material. Bieber had songwriting credits on 12 of the album’s 13 tracks. A huge international success, Believe was the biggest selling album in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US. It featured the international hit single "Boyfriend," which was followed up the charts by “As Long As You Love Me,” “Beauty and a Beat,” “Right Here” and “All Around the World.”
Believe Acoustic, featuring three new songs as well as acoustic and live versions of those found on Believe, was issued early in 2013. It was certified platinum in Canada and topped the sales charts in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Spain and the US, making Bieber the first artist to have five No. 1 records on the Billboard album chart before his 19th birthday.
In 2010, Bieber was named the most searched-for celebrity on the Internet by search engine Ask Jeeves.
In March 2014, he was “liked” by over 63 million people on Facebook and became only the second person (after Katy Perry) to reach 50 million followers on Twitter. Even members of his inner circle, such as his manager Braun, videographer Alfredo Flores and musical director Dan Kanter, have more Twitter followers than many high-profile celebrities.
Bieber has appeared in more than 20 of his own music videos and been featured in videos by Chris Brown, will.i.am and Maejor Ali. He continues to be a YouTube sensation — the number of times his clips and videos have been viewed is now measured in the billions. His video for "Baby" (featuring an appearance by Canadian rapper Drake) held the record for the most views on YouTube with more than 800 million until it was surpassed by Psy’s “Gangnam Style” in December 2012. “Baby” was also certified as having one billion views on Vevo, a music video website, in February 2014.
Touring and Public Appearances
Bieber launched his My World tour in 2010, playing arenas and amphitheatres across North America from June to December. The following year, he moved on to large venues in Europe, Asia, South America, Israel, Australia and Mexico. In total, 1.4 million fans attended 88 shows that grossed over $88 million.
Bieber embarked on the extensive Believe tour in September 2012 and performed across North America for four months. The tour resumed after a short break and covered Europe, Dubai and South Africa before returning to North America for another leg in the summer of 2013. Six weeks off the road were followed by another long run of shows in Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, South America and Australasia.
Bieber’s public appearances over the years have drawn large crowds and occasionally made headlines for devolving into mob incidents. In November 2009, Braun was charged with reckless endangerment, criminal nuisance and endangering the life of a child after a crowd of fans at a mall in Garden City, Long Island grew frenzied and unruly while awaiting an autograph signing. In April 2010, Bieber’s appearance on a morning television program in Sydney, Australia was cancelled after eight fans sustained minor injuries when they were trampled by a crowd of over 5,000. A similar incident occurred in Oslo, Norway in 2012.
Film, Television and Publishing
Bieber further enhanced his reputation as a teen heartthrob by starring in the 3-D concert film biopic Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, which included performance and backstage footage, and was released over the Valentine's Day weekend in 2011. The film grossed $99 million worldwide. A subsequent concert film biopic titled Justin Bieber’s Believe premiered on Christmas Day in 2013. It failed to match the success of its predecessor, grossing only $6.2 million at the domestic box office after a limited run.
Bieber had a guest role playing a troubled teen on the 11th season premiere of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation in September 2010. He was a musical guest on numerous television shows, and also became a commercial pitchman for the anti-acne skin-care product Proactiv. He has appeared at numerous awards shows, either performing or being honoured.
Bieber's appearance on a variety of magazine covers helped sell millions of copies. HarperCollins published his memoirs in a book titled First Step 2 Forever: My Story in October 2010. Several other books have also been written about him. Bieber’s mother, Pattie Mallette, co-wrote a book titled Nowhere But Up: The Story of Justin Bieber’s Mom that was published in September 2012.
Bieber has a fragrance called Someday, and his wealth has enabled him to invest millions of dollars into several startup technology companies, including Spotify, Tinychat, Stamped, Sojo Studios and Beats Audio.
Bieber is a celebrity spokesperson for the Pencils of Promise charity, which builds schools in developing countries. He also appeared in a public service announcement in support of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and contributed a public statement to the It Gets Better campaign to help prevent bullying against LGBT youth.
While Bieber is a professed Christian who started his career with a clean, boyish image, he has gained notoriety for questionable behaviour and has had several run-ins with the law since becoming an international superstar. He was the subject of a paternity suit in November 2011 and another in May 2013, both filed by women several years older than him. The first was dropped after a DNA test disproved the claim. He was also the focus of an alleged murder plot hatched by two New Mexico men in February 2013.
Bieber has been accused of violence against photographers, who he felt were harassing him, and a former bodyguard sued him in January 2013 after claiming the singer berated and punched him during an argument. A southern California neighbour of Bieber accused him of battery and making threats during an argument two months later, but no arrests were made. That same month, Bieber was forced to leave behind a pet capuchin monkey in quarantine while touring in Germany.
Bieber angered many people in February 2013 when he visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, and wrote a note in the guest book saying that, if Anne had survived, he hoped she “would have been a Belieber.” Two weeks later, a stun gun and drugs were found on his tour bus in Stockholm, Sweden. Bieber was accused of spray-painting graffiti in Colombia and Brazil in November 2013, and is also alleged to have visited a brothel while there.
Things got worse for Bieber in January 2014. He was accused of vandalism after allegedly throwing eggs at a neighbour’s home and, when Los Angeles police searched his home, a friend was arrested and then released on bail. That same month, Bieber was arrested in Miami Beach, FL, on suspicion of driving under the influence, driving with an expired license and resisting arrest without violence. He was jailed but released shortly afterward when he posted $2,500 in bail. A post-arrest drug test conducted by police allegedly found that Bieber had THC (a component in marijuana) and the anti-anxiety medication Xanax in his system at the time of his arrest. Bieber surrendered to Toronto police on 29 January after he was charged with assaulting a limousine driver in December. He was released and ordered to appear in court at a later date.
This bad publicity prompted the creation of an online petition calling for Bieber’s deportation from the US. It was presented to President Barack Obama after it passed the 100,000-signature threshold required for a White House response.
- Pop Album of the Year (2011)
- Juno Fan Choice Award (2011)
- Juno Fan Choice Award (2012)
- Juno Fan Choice Award (2013)
- Juno Fan Choice Award (2014)
MuchMusic Video Awards
- UR FAVE: New Artist, MuchMusic Video Awards (2010)
- UR FAVE: Canadian Video, MuchMusic Video Awards (2010)
- International Video of the Year by a Canadian, MuchMusic Video Awards (2010)
- UR FAVE: Artist, MuchMusic Video Awards (2011)
- International Video of the Year by a Canadian, MuchMusic Video Awards (2011)
- UR FAVE: Artist/Group, MuchMusic Video Awards (2013)
American Music Awards
- Artist of the Year, American Music Awards (2010)
- Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist, American Music Awards (2010)
- T-Mobile Breakthrough Artist, American Music Awards (2010)
- Favorite Pop/Rock Album, American Music Awards (2010)
- Artist of the Year, American Music Awards (2012)
- Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist, American Music Awards (2012)
- Favorite Pop/Rock Album, American Music Awards (2012)
MTV Video Music Awards
- Best New Artist, MTV Video Music Awards (2010)
- Best Male, MTV Europe Music Awards (2010)
- Best Male Video, MTV Video Music Awards (2011)
MTV Europe Music Awards
- Best Push Act, MTV Europe Music Awards (2010)
- Best Male, MTV Europe Music Awards (2011)
- Best Pop, MTV Europe Music Awards (2011)
- Best Male, MTV Europe Music Awards (2012)
- Best Pop, MTV Europe Music Awards (2012)
- Best World Stage Performance, MTV Europe Music Awards (2012)
- Best Male, MTV Europe Music Awards (2013)
- Best Canadian Act, MTV Europe Music Awards (2013)
- Best North American Act, MTV Europe Music Awards (2013)
Teen Choice Music Awards
- Choice Music: Male Artist, Teen Choice Music Awards (2010)
- Choice Music: Breakout Male Artist, Teen Choice Music Awards (2010)
- Choice Summer Music Star: Male, Teen Choice Music Awards (2010)
- Choice Music: Pop Album, Teen Choice Music Awards (2010)
Teen Icon Awards
- Iconic Song, J-14 Teen Icon Awards (2010)
- Icon of the Year, J-14 Teen Icon Awards (2010)
- Iconic Twitter, J-14 Teen Icon Awards (2010)
- Iconic Male Star, J-14 Teen Icon Awards (2010)
Billboard Music Awards
- Fan Favorite, Billboard Music Awards (2011)
- Top Social Artist, Billboard Music Awards (2011)
- Top Streaming Artist, Billboard Music Awards (2011)
- Top New Artist, Billboard Music Awards (2011)
- Top Digital Media Artist, Billboard Music Awards (2011)
- Top Social Artist, Billboard Music Awards (2012)
- Top Social Artist, Billboard Music Awards (2013)
- Top Male Artist, Billboard Music Awards (2013)
- Milestone Award, Billboard Music Awards (2013)
Teen Choice Awards
- Choice Male Hottie, Teen Choice Awards (2011)
- Choice Music: Male Artist, Teen Choice Awards (2011)
- Choice TV: Villain, Teen Choice Awards (2011)
- Choice Twit, Teen Choice Awards (2011)
- Choice Music: Male Artist, Teen Choice Awards (2012)
- Choice Music: Single by a Male Artist, Teen Choice Awards (2012)
- Choice Red Carpet Fashion Icon: Male, Teen Choice Awards (2012)
- Choice Summer Music Star Male, Teen Choice Awards (2012)
- Choice Music: Male Artist, Teen Choice Awards (2013)
- Choice Twitter Personality, Teen Choice Awards (2013)
- Choice Music: Single by a Male Artist, Teen Choice Awards (2013)
Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards
- Favorite Male Singer, Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards (2011)
- Favorite Song, Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards (2011)
- Favorite Male Singer, Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards (2012)
- Favorite Male Singer, Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards (2013)
Shockwaves NME Awards
- Least Stylish, Shockwaves NME Awards (2011)
- Villain of the Year, Shockwaves NME Awards (2011)
- Best Album, Shockwaves NME Awards (2012)
- Villain of the Year, Shockwaves NME Awards (2012)
Virgin Media Music Awards
- Best Solo Artist, Virgin Media Music Awards (2013)
- Best Album, Virgin Media Music Awards (2013)
- Best Solo Male, Virgin Media Music Awards (2011)
- Newcomer of the Year, Young Hollywood Awards (2010)
- Best International Act, TRL Awards (2010)
- International Artist, MTV Music Video Brazil (2010)
- Best New Artist, MTV Video Music Awards Japan (2011)
- International Breakthrough Act, Brit Awards (2011)
- International Breakthrough of the Year, NRJ Music Awards (2011)
- NRJ Award of Honor, NRJ Music Awards (2012)
- Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Government of Canada (2012)
Best Dance Recording (“Where are Ü Now,” shared with Skrillex and Diplo), Grammy Awards (2016)