Happy 20th Birthday Justin Bieber! The superstar’s big day is here and he is now looking at teenhood in a rearview mirror.
Looking at tweets it’s clear some Beliebers feel the official ending of his kid years is a sad moment, as if a pact of eternal babyhood has been broken.
Others see Bieber’s entrance into adulthood as just another rite of passage to identify with and share. Moreover, it may bring a necessary maturing of the embattled pop prince.
Say what you will about the Biebs, but he’s a phenomenon — and the stats prove it.
From his first Kidrauhl YouTube video uploaded on January 19, 2007 singing Ne-Yo’s “So Sick” in a local talent contest to becoming the first ever artist to punch in five No. 1 albums before 19.
Then there’s the nearly $100 million grossing concert-film Never Say Never that’s still the most successful of its genre, and setting a record as the first artist to hit one billion Vevo views with the video for his 2010 hit “Baby” — Bieber’s achievements are both staggering and swiftly done.
Until recently Bieber reigned on Twitter with the most followers. He’s not exactly slacking at 49 million.
Just for today, as it’s his birthday, we’re going to pass on recounting his controversies and troubles. Suffice it to say, the coming weeks and months will be critical for a star currently gracing Rolling Stone’s latest issue as a “Bad Boy.”
But we haven’t forgotten the talent, artistry, charisma and hard work that powered Justin to the top of the game, or the #GiveBack contribution he put in along the way.
To honor that, and with a hope that this young man can bring new focus and balance to his life going forward, let’s take a ride through 20 of the Bieb’s most interesting, notable and downright cute moments worth celebrating.
1: It doesn’t get much cuter.
A true Canadian boy out in that insane thing they call Winter and the rest of us would call — Armageddon.
2: Justin’s first “Kidrauhl” YouTube uploaded January 19, 2007.
The video set in motion his discovery and the rise of Bieber Fever.
3: Bieber in an April 2008 MTV interview.
For those who mistakenly believe his misunderstood 2013 Journals album was his first brush with R&B, in this clip the then 13-year-old says, ” I see myself doing more, like, R&B,” when asked how he saw his musical future progressing.
“It’s like a dream,” he added, referring to his increasing public profile. “I’m waiting to wake up. It’s coming so fast.”
4: Bieber at an Atlanta studio in 2008, where he relocated with mother Pattie Mallette to launch his career with manager Scooter Braun and mentor Usher before signing a record deal with Island Def Jam in October.
Synchronously, he has returned to ATL to record a new album. Precocious even back then, watch and listen to a superstar in the making.
5: Bieber premiered an acoustic version of “Favorite Girl” on Germany’s Viva Live August 20, 2009. He displayed a natural charisma that fans and music critics alike recognized was a core part of his early appeal.
The song was later released exclusively to iTunes as the second single from his debut EP release, My World, on November 4, 2009.
6: How could we not?
Bieber performed “U Smile” and “Baby” during his second guest appearance on The Ellen DeDegeneres Show May 17th, 2010, four months after the song’s release on his first full-length album My World 2.0.
7: If you’ve never watched a back-in-the-day Bieber soundcheck, take a load off.
For many fans, the thousands of YouTube clips where he showcases a love of rap, dance, and connecting with fans in usually rowdy pre-shows, are long gone golden moments from the 2010-11 My World Tour.
Look out for the air guitar spot to Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.“
8: Justin wins Favourite Artist of the Year at the 2010 American Music Awards.
“My fans are amazing… I want to think my mom for giving up so much for me…I really got this opportunity about a year and half ago and it was really was embraced by a man named Usher Raymond (sic),” he said accepting, before inviting his mentor on stage to share the seminal moment.
9: One of our favorite performances from Bieber’s massively successful My World tour. It eventually grossed $53,341,886 worldwide.
“Bigger” recorded at the Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, Hawaii October 8, 2010.
10: A supportive fan expresses some Biebs love on Twitter.
The role of Beliebers in Bieber’s life from their support of his early YouTube clips to over 15 million sales and multiple industry awards, cannot be underestimated.
11: Bieber’s debut concert-movie Never Say Never was released on February 11, 2011.
Directed by Jon M. Chu, the film charted the rise of the Stratford, Ontario boy and included footage from the 10 day run-up to his dual concerts at NYC’s Madison Square Gardens on August 31-September 1, 2010 during his My World Tour. Shows sold out in 22 minutes.
The movie took over $29 million in the US over opening weekend and went on to bank nearly $100 million worldwide.
It stands as the most successful documentary of its type and features appearances from Usher, Jaden Smith, Miley Cyrus, Boyz II Men, the rapper Ludacris and Bieber’s family.
12: Yup. The hair flip cut. It was shot February 21, 2011.
The then 16-year-old was nominated for Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Album but did not go on to win.
14: Performing Usher’s “You Got It Bad,” Ne-Yo’s “Because of You,” and “Christmas Love” on the UK’s This Is Justin Bieber Special in December 2011.
Bieber performed for a crowd of over 300,000 delirious fans on June 12, 2012, as part of a series of free concerts for the TV special All Around The World documentary.
16: Bieber talks about experiencing loneliness and depression during Oprah’s Next Chapter interview in November 2012.
Asked to elaborate by the OWN host, the then 18-year-old replied simply, “Because I’m human.”
17: The Biebs overcome with emotion during the April 2013 Believe tour concert in Antwerp, Belgium.
18: Bieber was presented with the Diamond Award for “Baby” during his Newark show at the Prudential Center on July 31. 2013.
The award is the Recording Industry Association of America’s official recognition of “Baby” as the highest certified digital single in US music history – that’s right, history – earning its Diamond status after going 12-times Platinum.
Released as the lead single from the second half of Bieber’s debut LP My World 2.0 and featuring Ludacris, to date “Baby” has racked up over 3.9 million track sales and over one billion views on VEVO.
Back in May, the RIAA announced then explained that “Baby‘s” new Diamond status was based on its inclusion of on-demand streaming data into its Gold and Platinum Awards Program.
In so doing it dethroned Elton John’s 1973 double-A “Candle in the Wind/ Something About The Way You Look Tonight” as the highest certified single.
Justin was given the award on stage by Braun, who told the audience,
“I met Justin when he was 12, and through all the good times — and the hard times — he has stayed positive and worked hard for all of you.”
19: Bieber set a new record with the Make-A-Wish Foundation last year and is its biggest recording artist “wish” contributor.
He granted his “200th wish” before his Atlanta concert on August 10, 2013, to Annalysha Brown-
Among a raft of other philanthropic efforts, Bieber donated $1 from every ticket sold on the US leg of his tour to non-profit organization, Pencils of Promise, which builds schools and provides educational material in developing countries.
The star was the major funder and took part in the build of a school in Guatemala, Central America, during his tour run on October 27, 2013.
Bieber’s December 2013 #GiveBackPhilippines campaign raised over $3 million for victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Southeast Asian nation.
20: On December 23, 2013 Bieber dropped his latest album, Journals.
Notable for confessional lyrics, nuanced production, R&B/hip-hop leaning rhythms with no EDM in sight — it showcased a maturing, evolving step along his musical journey.
Of the album, Los Angeles Times’ music critic Mikael Wood wrote,
“Bieber’s singing, which is terrific throughout Journals – breathy and expressive, [is] also muscular when it needs to be, as in the chewy pop-funk tune “Roller Coaster. Yet his vocal ability has been apparent for some time to anyone who’s bothered to listen.”
“What distinguishes Journals is that he’s using that voice to confront the awkward aging-in-public process head-on, rare among his peers beyond Taylor Swift.”
21: [B-Day Bonus]
On February 24, 2014, Vevo announced views for Bieber’s “Baby” video hit one billion. He is the first and youngest artist to do so on the video hosting service.
The Ray Kay-directed clip video premiered exclusively on Vevo on February 19, 2010, one month after the single was released.
Somehow Twitter withstood the midnight barrage as fans sent the B-Day hashtag soaring. Hit the jump to see a selection.
Once more for the stragglers, Happy 20th birthday Biebs.
Happy 20th Birthday to my brother @justinbieber! All the best in everything you do. You’re a great friend/brother/artist/mentor.
— Ryan Butler (@itsRyanButler) March 1, 2014
Happy birthday to my inspiration and the guy who keeps me believing in myself.. Lots of love on your 20th big bro!! xo
— Madison Beer (@MadisonElleBeer) March 1, 2014
— (@Horny4DaBiebs) March 1, 2014
— Weknowthedj (@weknowthedj) March 1, 2014
#HAPPYbirthdayJB…welcome to your 20’s…make the next 10yrs powerful & productive…
— will.i.am (@iamwill) March 1, 2014
20!? I haven’t accepted it yet. Still in denial! I can’t believe it! Not a teenager anymore.. Unbelievable. #DoesThatMeanImOldNow?
— Pattie Mallette (@pattiemallette) March 1, 2014
— Allison K Scarinzi (@AllisonKaye) March 1, 2014
— Carly Rae Jepsen (@carlyraejepsen) March 1, 2014
love you my little bro.. happy birthday pic.twitter.com/ms5V39dSLL
— Johnny Shahidi (@john) March 1, 2014
— Tammy Bieber (@TammyBieber) March 1, 2014
Happy Birthday YOU KNOW WHO! I love you. Xoxo
— Pattie Mallette (@pattiemallette) March 1, 2014
— Scooter Braun (@scooterbraun) March 1, 2014
— (@Horny4DaBiebs) March 1, 2014
— Island Records (@IslandRecords) March 1, 2014
Happy Birthday to my brother. Ain’t so little anymore! What a journey it’s been. Here’s to many more… http://t.co/0QhEfyw2Wn
— Alfredo Flores (@AlfredoFlores) March 1, 2014
.@justinbieber No matter how old you are, you will always be Jelly Bean to me. Wishing you a blessed Happy 20th Bday! Love you more! Mama J
— Jan Smith (@ATLVox) March 1, 2014
That’s so cute. #HappyBirthdayJustinBieber pic.twitter.com/adQqlFNzey
— ℬℯℓιℯℬℯr (@BiebsStyle) March 1, 2014
— _ (@gotbieb) March 1, 2014
— Moms 4 Bieber ™ (@Moms4Bieber1) March 1, 2014
— happy bday Justin (@mysuperbieber) March 1, 2014
— happy 20th baby (@rollingarauhl) March 1, 2014
Happy birthday justin! Thanks for spending all your teenage years touring for us, I love you
— Justin Bieber (@lovinjaybieber) March 1, 2014
@justinbieber happy 20th birthday Justin! Thank you for everything you have done for us, couldnt be more proud of you! Love you so much
— Hanne (@kidrauhl_hanne) March 1, 2014
#20ReasonsWhyWeLoveJustin he gets so much hate but he finds a way to deal with it and not let the rumours bring him down
— HAPPY BDAY JUSTIN! (@iloveexbieber) February 28, 2014