Justin Bieber is currently on a globe-trotting promotional tour for his smash single “What do you mean?” It debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and has topped national charts in numerous countries. So far, a mix of one-on-one interviews, radio spots, and tasty acoustic performances have surfaced online from the singer’s travels.
On Friday, France’s Clique TV dropped their 14 minute meet with Justin Bieber and interviewer Mouloud Achour, which went down at Bieber’s hotel when he hit Paris earlier this week. Achour took the 21-year-old on a wide-ranging romp through subjects such as the Biebs’ views on the media’s treatment of him (Bieber was generous towards the press but did say he wasn’t aware of a lot of it), public opinion, Kanye West, his top five MCs, his verdict on the Drake-Meek Mill feud, and what he would do if he were the U.S. president.
Here are 11 standouts from this evidently sincere Bieber sit-down that’s worth checking out in full.
— Clique (@cliquetv) September 18, 2015
Bieber on going forward after taking stock of his life following well-documented dramas:
“Well I think that I’m just kinda walking on eggshells right now just to try to make sure people don’t think I’m being disrespectful.”
On what he would do if he was the U.S. president:
“I’d probably just fix some of the gun laws. ‘Cause in Canada we don’t really have any guns and there’s no gun violence. So that really solves it.” The singer continued, “I mean they think that it’s for protection but it always ends up in some bozo’s hand.”
On why the majority of the press targets him for criticism above many others:
“Well, I think it’s just, I think they [the media] put more responsibility for me because of my image I think and what I was representing. I think when you tell people you’re going to represent ‘belief’ and ‘hope’ and stuff, and then you’re off not really doing that, I think people just get mixed messages.”
“If I woulda came out from the get-go just like smoking weed, just like that would have been my image — but it wasn’t so… people just got confused,” he mused, clearly unaware of the extent of clickbait–chasing Bieber reporting out there.
“Now, my image is like, I just want people to see me as just a normal dude. Like I just come in here [to the interview] with my hoodie, because I’m comfortable and just chilling and, like, not trying too hard.”
He went on to say, “I just want to have a good time and show people that, like, I’m normal.”
On media and general public opinionating about him:
“At this point, I don’t really even pay attention to it… So, like, of course, certain things will get back to me.”
Bieber added, “But, like, at the end of the day I try to tell all my people around me, ‘If you hear something don’t tell me,’ ’cause I’d rather just not know… then hear it and just, like, start thinking about too much. I don’t need to know.”
On Bieber’s friendship with Skrillex and Diplo, who are collaborators on his upcoming album:
“Yeah, dude, they’re so fun [when asked if it was ‘more fun’ to hang out with the EDM duo]. Skrillex is the man, easy to hang around with. Diplo’s frikken dope. I was just with him in Vegas,” the singer raved.
On his top 5 MCs:
“Ah, Tupac, Mase, Nas, Biggie, Eminem. I’d say Eminem was first.”
On working on a track with Kanye West, and listening and learning from the rapper:
“We did some stuff for the album. We did this one song. I don’t know if it’s going to make the album. But it was really cool, really New York vibe,” Bieber said. This follows a January reveal that Rick Rubin and Ye are producing the singer’s November-dropping album. More recent reports indicate Skrillex is now the primary helmer.
“Kanye’s a talker,” Bieber recalled. “So, you get him in a room and he just starts talking and he just starts ranting. I just sit and I listen. You know ’cause he’s been through a lot of stuff and he’s not just talking to just talk. He’s obviously got something to say that he’s feeling from his heart.”
“So, when I hear that I like to just sit and listen. He’s a really really smart guy,” Bieber added.
The singer said one of the first things Ye told him was to create music that would shut people up. “I think he said something, like, it was really funny, talking about my music, he’s like, ‘You’ve just gotta… you just gotta give them that music. It’s like f— you. Give them music, it’s just like f— you guys.'”
Justin’s take on West’s advice? “But, it’s not like in a bad way. It’s just like, ‘you can’t say anything about it [Bieber’s music]. So that was really cool.”
On the much-memed Drake and Meek Mill beef:
“I’m not going to choose dude. I think I like them both,” the Biebs insisted, although on their skills outside the feud he favored his fellow Canadian pal. “Do I think Drake’s a better rapper? Yes. But I’m not going to choose between either of them.”
On how it felt getting his first big check:
“When I got my first check I just felt like the security to take care of my mom, because she always took care of me. And just like being able to take care of your mom feels really good. “
— Le Petit Journal (@LPJofficiel) September 18, 2015
After Bieber affirmed that he has felt lonely at times. “I think that people would never guess that artists like myself… that we would feel lonely with all the things that are always around us and people. But a lot of it is really surfacey and there’s no depth to those relationships.”
He explained, “And, so you just end up feeling like ‘I’m connecting but I’m not feeling what I want to feel.’ So, that’s where I ended up. I was just in a place of, like, searching because I felt like people weren’t what I needed them to be for me.”
Of his present circle of friends, “So, now I’m really surrounded by really cool people who are really for me and, like, I can really connect with, and I’m in like the best place ever, probably I’ve ever been in my life.”
On feeling free within the skate culture:
“Man, I love the skate community man!” Bieber replied emphatically when asked about his love for it. Achour expanded on that saying skate culture did was underground and doesn’t “care about the fame.”
Agreeing, Bieber went on, “They don’t, man. It made me not care about the fame too. It’s like diving into that culture, they didn’t give… I guess I can say f—.” He continued, enthusing, “So, I could basically go in these environments and skate and people weren’t looking at me. And I could just hang, and I’d land a trick and they’d [other skaters] be like, ‘that was dope’ and dap me up… It was cool.”
This is definitely one of the most interesting and natural of Justin Bieber’s recent interviews and offers a reveal of the singer that is markedly at odds with the simplistic mud-slinging most media outlets are still defaulting to, despite the fact Bieber is no longer getting into notable legal trouble.
Check out the singer’s Le Grand Journal performances of “What Do You Mean?” and “Hold Tight” below.
[Images via AKM-GSI / Clique TV]