The Evolution of Justin Bieber

We all remember this Bieber. The guy was new to the scene. He had the shag haircut, he had that song that you most definitely have heard more than “One Time,” but we weren’t ready to anoint him a star yet. I really think that an artist’s fan base dictates how seriously he or she can be taken as a bonafide star. At this time his fan base was almost exclusively teenage girls, at this point we had seen this before with the Backstreet Boys, N-Sync and Clay Aiken to name a few. The “boy bands” and artists who attracted similar fans. Justin Bieber was born 30 days before me, on March 1. At this time I was also the same age as him, 16 years old. I thought he was super corny. What he was doing wasn’t cool, it was an act, they were milking money out of a young child. I was not on board. It’s really interesting when someone is in the limelight so early on to see how their career unfolds. Inevitably there are the comparisons to Michael Jackson, he’s one of the few who was truly a star his entire life. Then there was this Bieber. The bowling alley Bieber. He didn’t grow up much. It still seemed like a ploy to get money from teenage girls’ parents. There was still that hope that he could come out of it though, that he could really produce a quality body of work. Never Say Never didn’t really take him to that next level like I hoped. It was at this point where he had to make a decision to forever cater to the female fan base, or create something that every demographic could like. Justin Timberlake is a great example of transitioning from teenage girl music to music that is enjoyed by just about everyone to some extent. Then there was this Bieber. There was hope. He finally transitioned from the pop Bieber to a more well rounded Bieber. The truth be known, this was when I purchased my first ever Justin Bieber song on iTunes. I kept it hidden though, my friends didn’t know, it was a guilty pleasure. I played it a lot though, the song was huge, I just didn’t want people knowing I liked it. It wasn’t safe to be a Bieber fan just yet. It was postponed even further when he went and got in trouble, again, and again. This Bieber. This was probably the low point of Mr. Bieber’s career. He was arrested for a DIU, peed in a mop bucket, threw eggs at a house, drag raced. He was public enemy number one. There was even a petition with 270,000 signatures on it to send him back to Canada following the DUI. The young man’s influence was undeniable at this point. I couldn’t really blame him, he had millions of dollars and people around the age of 20 tend to make mistakes even when they aren’t handed millions of dollars and told to go have fun. Something had to really turn the corner for me though. I was almost there, he needed to do something to really draw in the male college student demographic. Then this happened. He adopted a dirty mustache. Okay, not that. He featured Chance The Rapper in a song. Not Drake, not Big Sean, he went for the biggest buzzing artist at the time. Chance wasn’t, and isn’t signed to a label. It was something out of the norm for Bieber. He realized Chance was cool, and doing a song with him was the best thing he’s done for rounding out his fanbase. From that song on I was really on board. I had Bieber fever. I went and dove deeper into the album that “Confident” lived on, “Journals”. There were a couple other really great songs on there as well. “All That Matters” and “Heartbreaker” both still get a lot of plays from me. I felt that he was making a turn towards Justin Timberlake musically, and I think that’s the right path to follow for him going forward. Apparently he really enjoyed the neon lights from the “Confident” video because they’re also very prevalent in his video for ‘What Do U Mean?” There are other people who share the same sentiment as me. It took time. It didn’t happen overnight, but Justin Bieber made me (us) a fan. I think being the same age as him has coincided with me becoming a fan. I’ve watched his growth as an artist and a person. I’m not saying I was using a mop bucket as a restroom, but I think we can all relate to doing dumb things at the age of 18, and 19. Aaron J. Boma 2012 DTHS Graduate ISU Senior