Justin Bieber turns 22 today. Happy Birthday Biebs! Although a 21st is typically the milestone birthday, few would disagree that the pop icon arrives at his next digits, coming off a record-breaking, purpose-building, perception-altering year.
Those were worrying times in 2013-14 (we won’t bore you with a recap), but surely anyone with a working brain knows that growing up and being judged in the public eye 24/7 can’t be easy.
Last year, the Canadian singer opened up to fans and the public and showed us he was more than a hot mess of headlines. Kicking things off with an emotional apology YouTube video, in which he owned now past behavior and continued to, he wrapped 2015 by dropping an artistically stunning and massively successful album.
All of which, phoenixed Justin Bieber out of music and culture exile and back into the hearts, minds, and playlists of millions. And that’s exactly where this wild but God-acknowledging, compelling superstar deserves to be.
Here are 22 times the Biebs showed us his musical talents, charisma, humor, generosity, and kindness.
1: He faced Canadian winters (aka Armageddon) with Bear Grylls-like tenacity.
2: And if you thought that was cute…
— Purpose Tour Updates (@PurposeTourUD) March 1, 2016
3: He didn’t let an early loss stop him from expressing his gifts.
Justin came third in a talent competition in his Stratford, Ontario, hometown when he was 12-years-old.
4: He totally nailed Chris Brown’s “With You” classic as a kid. Take that, “R&B Biebs” doubters.
The first “Kidrauhl” video was uploaded to YouTube by Justin’s mother, Pattie Mallette, on January 19, 2007. It set in motion the singer’s discovery by manager Scooter Braun. You know what came next.
5: My World Version 2:0 album is iconic.
Shiny optimal hyper-pop suffused with R&B, My World Version 2.0 was the soundtrack for tween and teenage girls around the world in 2010. “Runaway Love” is just one of many gems.
6: He’s always been a charmer.
7: Acoustic Biebs is a thing of beauty.
8: He’s funny as hell.
9: He still is.
June 12: Justin’s (rickthesizzler) video on snapchat pic.twitter.com/X0tvzqQVnZ
— Bieber-news.com (@yourbiebernews) June 12, 2015
10: He took responsibility for his past. Publicly.
Justin’s emotional, heartfelt apology video followed his first nervous appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show last January.
11: Big brother game — strong.
Justin dotes on his younger brother and sister, Jaxon, 6, and Jazmyn, 7, and always has done.
12: He laughed at horrendous jokes about himself during a four Comedy Central Roast.
13: He appreciates his fans.
Throughout Justin Bieber’s career, the singer has constantly expressed and shown appreciation for his fans.
Examples of this can be seen in the video below. It shows a group of Beliebers meeting the superstar during an impromptu meet and greet.
The fact that Justin takes the time to not only take pictures but also hug, kiss and talk to his fans, he's amazing pic.twitter.com/KqOdYGyLum
— ️ (@iwilIshowyou) December 26, 2015
14: He isn’t just great with his own siblings, but all children.
A very young Belieber was thrilled when Bieber sang his signature 2010 hit “Baby” with her, after he stopped to acknowledge waiting fans outside a recording studio in 2014.
15: He has given time, effort, and money to charities and outreach programs throughout his career.
Justin Bieber is the biggest artist contributor to the Make-A-Wish organization, which carries out one expressed “wish” for terminally or chronically sick children and teens.
Happy birthday, @JustinBieber! Thank you always being such an awesome wish granter. Hope your day is amazing!
— Make-A-Wish America (@MakeAWish) March 1, 2016
He has now granted over 260 “wishes” and continues to work with the organization.
He also supports financially helps support Pencils of Promise, a non-profit organization, which builds schools and provides resources for children in underdeveloped countries around the world.
In addition to donating over $500,000 toward AIDS cure research at the 2014 Amfar fundraiser, Justin also helped raise over $3 million with the aid of fans to help survivors of the devastating Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in December 2013. He also visited refuge centers there and performed a concert.
More recently, Bieber helped Ellen DeGeneres donate $500,000 to a run-down school in Detroit. He pledged $1 from every ticket sold at his upcoming Purpose World Tour show in Michigan to the school. For more on Bieber’s extensive charitable contributions click here.
17: “Where Are Ü Now” changed everything and delivered the Biebs’ first Grammy.
The singer’s co-written, game-changing collaboration with Jack Ü’s Skrillex and Diplo stole the summer in 2015, forcing everyone to update their “Justin Bieber” preconceptions.
“Where Are Ü Now” peaked at No. 8 on Billboard’s Hot 100, racked up nearly 450 millions streams, won the American Music Award for Best Collaboration last year, and led to Justin’s first Grammy alongside Jack Ü.
18: He showed us his heart when he cried onstage at the 2015 MTV VMAs.
The Biebs sobbed on stage after closing a two song-set for his first post-exile award show at the 2015 MTV VMAs. It was a heartfelt and unforgettable moment. The audience gave the returned Prince of Pop a standing ovation.
19: He gave us Purpose.
No one saw this excellence coming. Justin finally made the transition from the teen-only demographic to adult by releasing an album packed with irresistible hits. The record soars with confessional lyrics, spoken word interludes, shimmering soundscapes, and a redemption narrative everyone could get on board with.
The result: a comeback story for the history books. Purpose became the Biebs’ sixth album to debut at No.1 on Billboard 200 chart. The singles — “What Do You Mean?” “Sorry,” and “Love Yourself” — all hit No. 1 and are multi-platinum. As of February 2016, Purpose is the most streamed album on Spotify with over 2.6 billion streams.
20: He is the first artist to hold the No. 1, 2, & 3 spots simultaneously on the U.K.’s Official Singles Chart.
Justin achieved this feat in January this year. During a recent trip to the U.K. for the Brit Awards, he was presented with a plaque marking his historic chart record.
He was given the award by the U.K.’s National Health Service choir, whose charity single the Biebs urged his fans to buy over Christmas instead of his own single “Love Yourself.” The NHS song subsequently went to No. 1.
— Official Charts (@officialcharts) March 1, 2016
21: The Biebs has been a hair and fashion icon since the start of his career.
Calvin Klein unveiled the singer as the latest celebrity face of the brand and the pair have been serving flawless looks ever since.
22: He turned his life around when general consensus wrote him off.
Take away the endless self-serving media coverage and natural inflation of fame, there’s nothing Justin Bieber did while he was stumbling through 19 and 20 that merits the overkill reporting he receives. No-one is perfect, and we are all works in progress.
The Biebs has made mistakes and will probably make more. Just like you. Just like me. But he’s also achieved and given more than many ever will and made fantastic music along the way. Happy 22nd birthday, Prince of Pop.
[Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images]