Today, Justin Bieber marks his five year anniversary of his signing to Island Def Jam Records.
The 19-year-old’s ever vigilant ‘Beliebers’ have been celebrating the seminal date April 13, 2008 all day, trending #5YearsJustinSigned for hours.
Manager Scott “Scooter” Braun also joined in the fun, tweeting:
“Love this #5YearsJustinSigned trend. #BELIEVE in underdogs!! #DreamBIG and #NeverSayNever.”
For the boy from Stratford, Ontario, who grew up poor but rich in emotional support from his single mother Patti Mallette, the journey from street busker to YouTube sensation to signed adolescent at age 14, has been nothing short of a phenomenon.
The milestones of Bieber’s ascent are well documented. In 2007, Braun clicked on one of the then 13-year-old’s YouTube clips by accident. Drawn to what he saw, Braun’s tenacious search led to a life-changing meeting between the young Canadian and Usher in Atlanta, Georgia later that year.
That meeting led to another with Island Def Jam CEO Antonio “L.A.” Reid, who said at the time that he found it uncanny that “Justin was the same exact age as Usher when he was signed.”
— Scooter Braun (@scooterbraun) April 13, 2013
From there, came a debut album My World in November 2009 and first single “One Time.” It went platinum in the US and with it Bieber became the first artist to have seven songs from a debut chart on Billboard’s Hot 100. The worldwide top ten single “Baby” followed with the release of My World 2.0, and saw Bieber become the youngest solo male act to top the Billboard 200 chart since Stevie Wonder in 1963.
Next, his first headlining My World tour from June 2010, two remix albums, the nearly $100 million grossing 3D concert movie biopic Never Say Never, a Christmas album Under the Mistletoe, which was encored by the Believe album in June 2012 and Believe Acoustic January 2013.
Keeping up? To date, Bieber has sold over 15 million albums, topped Billboard’s 200 album chart five times, in 2011 Forbes placed him at #2 on their Best-Paid Celebrities under 30, won a ton of awards — notably Artist of the Year at both the 2010 and 2012 American Music Awards and five more AMA’s, as well as six Billboard Music Awards and 10 MTV Awards — and in 2012 was honored with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by Canada’s Prime Minister.
Summer 2010, Bieber became the most-searched-for celebrity on the Internet, accounting for three percent of all traffic on Twitter. Meanwhile, “Baby” became the most viewed music video on YouTube and remained so until South Korean rapper Psy’s “Gangnam Style” dethroned it in 2012.
Throughout his meteoric rise, both Bieber and Braun have cultivated an almost unprecedented level of interaction with the millions of fans who made that rise possible. The singer’s Twitter count is currently at 37 million plus while on Facebook he has over 52 million likes.
In short; the past five years of relentless promotion, countless meet and greets — not to mention substantive charity work and a singular relationship with his fans — have forged a new kind of version 2.0 superstar; touchable yet Apollonic.
The hair, too, has changed over the years. The iconic 2008-10 mop morphing gradually into a sharp pompadour recently replaced with a Skrillex shaved and bangs combo. Style-wise Bieber worked James Dean appeal in his Teen Vogue photo shoot but prefers hip hop styling left to his own devices. Overall, its swag meets beanie, with tattoos and abs aplenty thrown in after the big change.
So, has the zenith been reached or can the Bieber brand extend its own ceiling?
For just over a month, media headlines have trumpeted that Bieber’s reign as a beloved, family friendly pop star is over. Referring to these, veteran New York music manager Peter Mensch told The Sun:
“I don’t know what Bieber’s problem is. His career is over in three years anyway.”
Strong words. And yet, with one alleged exception, the overblown reaction to what — in truth — amounts to mildly rock n’ roll behavior on his Believe tour, pot indiscretions, paparazzi run-ins and what is most likely post Selena Gomez split acting out, there isn’t really any weight behind the idea that Bieber Fever has peaked.
If anything, worldwide audience reception to Bieber’s mostly sold out tour and ceaseless media comment on his every utterance or move, suggests interest in what the singer does next remains undimmed.
With yesterday’s “All Around the World” video debut, those who hadn’t yet seen the teen star in action were given a 4:15 glimpse of the burgeoning adult artist that has been crystallizing for five years.
An avowed Christian who has previously said he believes God has a “purpose” for him, if Bieber can draw on that well and take only what’s of value from the steep learning curve of recent weeks — there’s every reason to think the road ahead is nowhere but up.