Justin Bieber is a real one.
Despite the media negatively misconstruing, or taking the superstar’s “Purpose Tour” speeches out of context, and being OTT about the Biebs’ miscommunication in what amounts to just three out of 100 incident-free tour shows to date — to his great credit, the 22-year-old is still determined to talk to and connect with fans during his concerts in a deeper way than he ever has before, and express his gratitude for their support.
Rewind to Saturday (October 29). Just before singing the reflective title track of his latest Purpose album, Justin gave a powerful and heartfelt speech to fans who packed out Glasgow’s SSE Hydro arena in Scotland.
In it, the Biebs said he wanted to “speak from what’s in my heart” and “remind everybody that everybody has a purpose.”
Post-show, a since-deleted tweet containing some of the speech popped up on Bieber’s Twitter account, along with a note, which read, “Tonight on stage. Thank you.”
Because of the tweet, most media outlets mistakenly thought the singer was sharing an open letter or apology. He did neither. In addition, because the start of the pop prince’s speech wasn’t tweeted, outlets thought (or were happy to assume) that the Grammy winner was “blaming [Manchester] fans” as the U.K.’s Daily Mail and multiple news sites reductively claimed.
— Daily Mail Celebrity (@DailyMailCeleb) October 30, 2016
In fact, the Canadian star was calling out the media’s openly hostile reporting of the issues he had with fans who screamed over him when he tried to speak at three of his “Purpose Tour” concerts along his U.K. leg. Notably, at his final show in Manchester, he dropped the mic and briefly walked off-stage when he was booed by some in the crowd, before returning.
Watch Bieber’s palpably sincere speech to Glasgow fans below. It was tweeted on his account hours after the deletion of the partial speech tweet.
“So as you guys know this is called the Purpose Tour. And the reason why I named it the Purpose Tour is ’cause I simply wanted to remind everybody that everybody has a purpose,” Bieber began.
“No matter how old you are, now matter how young you are,” he continued. “And when you start saying things in life that matter, especially on a large scale, people tend to want to shut you down.”
Alluding to the media criticism that followed his some concert-goers booing him at two shows in Manchester last week, Bieber explained, “What I mean by that is, people try to twist things, some people don’t want to listen.”
The singer went on, “But, I simply feel like…if I didn’t use this platform to say how I truly feel, and if I didn’t use this platform to be the man that I know I am, and speak from what’s in my heart, then I’m doing myself an injustice, and I’m doing everybody in this audience an injustice.”
“So, there’s going to be times…where, you know, I say the wrong thing, because I’m human. And, I don’t, I don’t pretend to be perfect and I hope to God that, you know I don’t say the right thing all the time because if that was the case then I’d be a robot, and I’m just not, I’m not a robot,” he went on.
“There’s going to be times when I get upset, and times when I get angry, and there’s times when I’m going to be frustrated. But I’m always going to be myself on this stage. Always,” he added, pointing down at the stage.
At one point, Justin directly referred to the media’s negative interpretation of his desire for fans not to scream so loudly at his shows when he is speaking onstage.
The heartthrob said “And so when people try to twist things and say, ‘Justin’s angry at his fans. He doesn’t want his fans to scream’ that’s not at all what I was doing.”
Earnestly, he added, “All I was simply doing was wanting people to listen; and kind of hear me out a little bit.”
Nodding to tensions with some audiences over the screaming issue, he noted, “And certain people, certain cities aren’t going to want to hear it you know. Sometimes it’s my job to just ‘OK. I catch a vibe, and I’m not going to try to force something.'”
Wrapping his speech, Bieber told the Glasgow fans, “But, I just appreciate you guys tonight, listening to me, and understanding, and rocking with me. You guys are truly amazing.'”
“And I couldn’t do it without you,” he added, showing gratitude to the Glasgow crowd, who cheered approvingly (and relatively quietly) throughout his speech.
“So this last song is called ‘Purpose.’ And I’m so lucky to be able to share this purpose with you. Thank you,” he concluded, bowing, before performing the song.
Bieber’s graciously-expressed speech went down well in Scotland. So did the Q&As with the audience that he has introduced as an addition to his “Purpose” shows the day after his last troublesome Manchester show.
Unlike most the media who have assessed the “Sorry” singer’s U.K. tour leg as a catastrophe, in reality it seems to have been a useful learning curve to Bieber in regard to how to take an audience “with him” willingly, rather than reluctantly, when he wants to go beyond the music at his concerts to speak and connect with fans.
.@justinbieber covers our OCT/NOV 2015 issue.
— Complex (@ComplexMag) September 28, 2015
In a number of interviews last year, Bieber talked about he reconnected with his Christian faith when he began to turn his life around and emerge from a depressive and turbulent period. His personal “journey” arc can be heard on his fantastic Purpose album, especially in “Life Is Worth Living,” and “Purpose.”
It’s clear the Biebs wants to share his ongoing, very human life observations and struggles, and what helps him, with “Purpose Tour” audiences. That’s not only understandable and admirable, it may also be inspirational and relatable to those who hear him.
For those who will surely criticize Bieber’s efforts to reach out to fans in this way, some truisms: No one is perfect. Human beings grow through direct experience, learning, owning mistakes, self-acceptance, and being with other people. Quite apart from the obvious fact that the Biebs has a right to speak at his own concerts, he isn’t claiming to be perfect or a role model — just a human being with experiences, insights, purposeful stories, and maybe a few jokes he wants to tell.
Scroll to 4:00 mins in the video below for Bieber’s third Glasgow performance of “Purpose.”
[Featured Image by Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images]