Justin Bieber and his Beliebers are celebrating #8YearsOfKidrauhl today.
The hashtag was a top trending topic on Twitter, as fans reminisced over the heartthrob’s journey from a small town boy in Stratford, Ontario, to superstardom.
It’s exactly eight years since Justin and his mother, Pattie Mallette, uploaded the first video of the then 12-year-old singing in a talent competition to his just created Kidrauhl YouTube account in 2007, so that relatives who couldn’t make it to the contest could see him.
Neither of them could have foreseen the phenomenal chain of events that first video would set in motion. Which, is a pretty perfect nutshell of the meaning of the 2011 concert movie Never Say Never, and the adventure that was to come.
Before the craziness of 2013-14, Jelena dramas, sold-out concerts and tours, awards and achievements such as — Justin racking up five billboard No.1 albums before 19-years-old, Diamond status with signature single “Baby,” becoming the youngest artist to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart since Stevie Wonder with 2010s My World 2.0, and pulling in millions of YouTube hits with R&B covers of artists such as Chris Brown, Alicia Keys, Ne-Yo, Usher, and Justin Timberlake — it all began with a little boy sharing his love of music on the Internet.
So, let’s take a wander though the evolution of Kidrauhl so far.
1: Ne-Yo “So Sick” cover
Justin sang this at the talent competition at the age of 12, finishing in the top three.
Who could have known the child in this video would go on to meet Ne-Yo and, in fact, all his musical heroes — apart from the late King of Pop and Tupac Shakur?
2: Sarah McLachlan “Angel” Cover
One of the most beautiful and saddest songs in McLachlan’s catalog, it’s really something to hear and see fetus Justin’s take on a song of this depth.
3: Chris Brown “With You” Cover
One of Breezy’s earliest hits, Justin’s rendition answers those who mistakenly believe the Canadian’s foray into R&B on his 2013 album Journals was a new thing.
The Biebs has been singing R&B, Pop and Country since he was knee-high. Now, friends with Brown, the pair came together to record a song last year “for the fans,” which — if it’s released — will be their second official collaboration.
4: Usher “U Got it bad” cover
Justin is seen singing his mentor-to-be’s 2001 hit to Usher himself, when Braun introduced the two for the second time in 2007 in Atlanta, Georgia.
The R&B superstar clearly liked what he heard and saw. He and Braun signed the budding artist to their production company, then the Island Def Jam Group in 2008. Usher remains one of Justin’s biggest defenders and friends.
5: “You and Me”/ I’ll Be” covers
The Biebs performed a mash-up of “You and Me” and Edwin McCain’s 1998 hit “I’ll Be” for the KISS FM Live Music Lounge at 96.7 KISS FM, Austin back in 2009.
It’s a great rendition, showcasing Kidrauhl’s voice and guitar talents and goofy personality.
6: Behind the scenes of the video shoot for “Somebody to Love”
One of the best songs on Justin’s blockbuster 2010 My World 2.0 album, it’s a fan favorite in concerts and a perfect example of timeless, joyous, tight pop.
7: Behind the scenes of recording the 2012 album Believe
It didn’t garner a Grammy nomination, but this snapshot of the recording sessions reveals the work and intention that went into bringing the Believe album together.
8: “Me to you backstage in Mexico”
During a series of free concerts around the world, the Biebs is filmed thanking fans before performing to over 300,000 people at an outside concert in Mexico City.
Part of the caption at the upload read: “A lot of emotions but just wanted to say I wouldn’t be here without all of your support. Wanted you to know how I feel. Thanks for everything. I hope you chase every dream as you are helping me live mine every day… thank you.”
9: “All That Matters (great wall of china viral) ft. The Camel”
Shot by Justin’s videographer friend, Alfredo Flores, to unofficially support the third single from Justin’s confessional Journals album, the guerrilla video was filmed on the Great Wall of China in October 2013 during his Believe tour.
It shows the Biebs fully inhabiting his R&B prince persona, in a compelling visual that is all the better for not having high-tech production values.
10: Guatemala Video Confession: Giving is the best
While the singer’s Central and South America leg of his Believe tour became infamous for various incidents, Justin and staff members from the non-profit charity Pencils of Promise also helped to build a school in an impoverished rural area in Guatemala.
In the clip, Justin talks emotionally about the experience and tells his fans that in whatever way they can, they too can “make a difference.”
The Guatemala build is just one of the many charitable and outreach efforts the singer has given time, energy and money to. For a detailed listing of those contributions, click here.
11: “#BelieveMovie – #Perspective”
2013’s Believe documentary didn’t address any of the questions people had about Justin’s troubles and tour from 2013, but this teaser — in particular — stands out as representative of the one voice that’s rarely heard in the endless, pop culture opinionating about Bieber.
Titled “#Perspective,” right now it is Justin’s perspective — musically and otherwise — that fans and critics are waiting to hear on his upcoming, new album. As recently reported, he’s working with legendary producer and Def Jam Records founder, Rick Rubin.
12: Justin was unveiled as the new face of Calvin Klein’s spring 2015 Underwear & Jeans Campaign with model Lara Stone on January 6.
The singer attempted to address the furor with a shirtless selfie this week, that undeniably shows he’s ripped and probably packing.
Despite, and because of this, the Klein campaign topped Ad Age’s Viral Video Chart in the second week of January, and may prove to be one of the brand’s most successful, talked-about eras.
The last word goes to a Justin Bieber fan, whose post is undoubtedly echoed by the many who still believe in Kidrauhl eight years later, and are looking forward to a better, fairer and brighter future for the singer.
[Images via Calvin Klein/ So let It Be]