Justin Bieber, not surprisingly, is feeling the strain. He has said this in interviews throughout 2015, after coming off two well-documented turbulent years of legal stress, heartbreak, and public criticism.
Most recently, in i-D magazine.
— i-D (@i_D) November 12, 2015
In it, the 21-year-old superstar opens up about the destructive effects of fame on not only himself, but other artists in the music industry. The Biebs also says he is held to a “different standard” compared to other people his age.
To be fair, there isn’t really any arguing with that. It’s self-evident that if Bieber was an anonymous young man, his missteps wouldn’t become international press headlines.
So, the 21-year-old is talking about what it feels like to be the target of that relentless focus — which, as is well known — is driven by profit and market share targets.
Of being over-judged, the heartthrob tells NME,”It’s because of the way the ‘Justin Bieber brand’ was portrayed.”
Bieber adds, “I was a wholesome pop star who was so amazing who had nice hair and a f—–g image that no one could ever live up to.”
“So when all this happened people were like, ‘Woah, let’s rip him apart.'” he continued, adding, “If you see Ghandi roll up a blunt, it’s different to seeing Ryan Gosling roll up a blunt. You wouldn’t give Ryan Gosling a hard time.”
It’s ripe imagery, and it is probable some might lose the message in the meaning. In a nutshell, Bieber is saying something he previously said in an interview with France’s Clique TV, when he mused that, back in 2013-14, his critics were confused by his actions because it was at odds with the Bieber-Believe brand.
The singer isn’t wrong. Take a look at a typical comment page of most Bieber gossip media reports, and you will find at least one commenter saying that the singer’s greatest crime is “not being a good role model.”
Perhaps the best answer to that is: Who do child or teen stars have as role models when the going gets rough? Where and who do they turn to when they struggle to navigate the adult industries they move in while being constantly scrutinized and deconstructed?
“I just want people to know I’m human. I’m struggling just to get through the days. I think a lot of people are,” Bieber tells NME, before sharing his experience of the darker aspects of fame.
“You get lonely, you know, when you’re on the road,” he recalled. “People see the glam and the amazing stuff, but they don’t know the other side. This life can rip you apart.”
Empathizing with the late Amy Winehouse, he revealed, “I watched the Amy Winehouse documentary on the plane and I had tears in my eyes because I could see what the media was doing to her — how they were treating her.
He noted, “People thought it was funny to poke her when she was at rock bottom, to keep pushing her down until she had no more of herself. And that’s what they were trying to do to me.”
The “Sorry” singer told the music publication that, despite having millions of fans around the world, there are times when he feels depressed and lonely.
Justin explained, “And I feel isolated. You’re in your hotel room and there are fans all around, paparazzi following you everywhere, and it gets intense.” He added, “When you can’t go anywhere or do anything alone you get depressed. I would not wish this upon anyone.”
To read the full interview, free copies of NME magazine are available this Friday.
[Images via Dean Chalkley / NME]