Justin Bieber had strong words to describe some of the media coverage he receives in the press, likening it to bullying in a new interview with Ryan Seacrest earlier on Monday. The question is, will he be heard?
The 19-year-old superstar, who has just wrapped his Believe world tour in Perth, Australia, called into Seacrest's radio show from Down Under to talk about his new collaborative single "Confident" with Chance The Rapper, his Christmas debuting concert-documentary Believe, and living his life under relentless scrutiny.
Offering a reason for the disconnect between who he feels he is and the public's image of him as a reckless, rude diva, Bieber referred to his 157-date tour and told his hosts,
"A lot of stuff's been confused," he noted. "I've been out of the public eye really, I've been on tour, so no one really knows what I'm doing out here."
To the outside eye, Bieber's drama-filled tour and personal life seemed (s) like a hot mess.
But the singer defends his right to explore and make mistakes and opened up about the affects of constant criticism.
"People don't really get to see me and that I'm really a 19-year-old boy," the Canadian insists. "I'm becoming a man but I'm still 19."
Justin added, "I'm still finding myself. And you know when I have the media attacking me everyday, you know it's no less of bullying than you know what happens in schools. These people calling me names and saying things, when they don't know what's true or not."
Since his 15-month trek began last September and certainly since March, there has hardly been a day when Bieber hasn't been linked to an incident, claim, or rumor. Recent items include a farcical exit from a Brazil brothel, video footage of him sleeping while filmed by a reported ex-porn actress, a graffiti row in Australia, and repeated allegations of low-level to serious claims of violence by his bodyguards.
Without getting specific, Justin suggests his candid film Believe will change misconceptions about him. "I think Believe is really how you get back up when you fall down man... I think that this movie really shows who I am as a person and that I just wanna help people and inspire the world."
Asked if the film will answer questions people have him, the heartthrob told Seacrest, "Of course. I make mistakes growing up as everybody does. I'm not perfect, I'm not a robot."
"People forget I'm a human being,"Bieber adds,"So I gotta make mistakes and grow from it and get stronger and you known that's what I plan to do. I want to become a young mogul. You know I want people to respect me for not only music but for making all the right decisions.
He threw in an afterthought. "But sometimes you have to make some wrong ones first."
It wasn't all heavy going in the interview.
Following lighthearted banter about skateboarding --- ("I'm hurting myself"), his shirtlessness ("I'm trying to be like young Marky Mark with my shirt off all the time"), tattoos ("I'm really an animal guy, I feel I express myself in different ways I feel like as an animal... my expression is a tiger") --- Justin was clearly delighted to talk about the ascent of "Confident" to No.1 on iTunes.
"Thank you to all my fans, all my Beliebers out there, you guys are incredible," he thrilled on air.
There has been a definite positive shift of opinion over these past 10 weeks of new releases from the pop/R&B prince during his Music Mondays drive. Whether the Believe movie can do the same for the singer's reputation remains to be seen.
But bearing in mind the extensive and continuing outreach work this teenager does and his stated intention to grow; more balanced, less belittling reporting by the cycle on this young, wild talent in 2014 would be a worthy resolution.
To hear audio of Bieber and Seacrest's interview visit here.