I wrote this essay during my first semester at college and feel with the release of Justin’s latest single it was important to share:
Too often child celebrities become permanently characterized by their naive, immature identity that was established when they initially became famous. This is the case with well-known singer/songwriter Justin Bieber. At just thirteen years old, Bieber rose to fame virtually overnight. In May 2009, Bieber unveiled his first single, “One Time”, and in 2010 he released his first full length album, My World 2.0, which debuted at number one on the Billboard Album Chart (Cunningham, 2020). Today, Bieber is still known by the general public as the punky teenage heart-throb that he was when he first became famous. As a result, today Bieber is extremely underrated and underappreciated and should be known for the powerful messages his music sends, his widespread musical talent, and his remarkable stage presence.
Since rising to fame during his tender pre-teen years, it is evident that Bieber has matured in his professional life. Justin Bieber was just a naive eighth grader with a dream when his talents were discovered on YouTube and he signed his first record deal (Yasharoff, 2020). Bieber’s early music was widely popular but covered rather immature topics. For example, one of his first major singles, “Baby” tells the tale of the pain he faced in his first break-up. Unfortunately, as would be the case with most middle schoolers, Bieber was not equipped to handle the repercussions of living in the public’s eye, leading to inappropriate behavior and outbursts. He experimented with drugs and alcohol, and faced legal consequences for his behavior (Zoladz, 2020). While for most youth his age such incidents might be viewed as growing pains, since Bieber was a public icon, he was labeled as being a punk and maladapted to life. In contrast, Bieber is now twenty-five years old and is a completely different person than who he was at fourteen (Yasharoff, 2020). Moreover, today Bieber’s music addresses more advanced issues and sends powerful messages. In February of 2020, Bieber released his album titled Changes. The record has seen great success thus far, opening with 230,000 sales in the United States, including 135 million streams and 126,000 full copy albums sold, making it the second largest opening album of the year (Sisario, 2020). Within a week of its release, it was already the number one album on the Billboard 200 chart (Caulfield, 2020). The first track off this album, also named “Changes”, portrays Bieber’s struggles with mental health. The song begins with the lyrics: “Some days I move like water/ some days I burn like fire/ some days I wanna push further/ some days I wanna do nothing” (Bieber, 2020). These lyrics refer to the waves of emotions people face on a daily basis, particularly those who struggle with depression. Through these words, Bieber implies that addressing mental health issues is not necessarily a sign of weakness nor something to be ashamed of. Even though Bieber is an extremely successful artist and lives a seemingly desirable life, he too faces issues with depression. Bieber brings awareness to an important issue in society and sends an impactful message that people of all ages can relate to. Bieber has indicated that he has shifted focus to inspiring listeners and helping them through their own struggles. In his YouTube documentary series, Bieber acknowledges this change. Bieber explains, “I think the older I get, the more I realize that I’m not utilizing my gift, I feel, for the right reasons. This isn’t about me, it’s about helping someone who’s going through whatever they’re going through, and being able to talk about that thing,” (Weatherby, 2020). The messages he sends in his new music are vastly different from the superficial issues he exemplified in his earlier music, and thus is a testament to the mature artist he has become.
Bieber is not only an incredible vocalist, but he is also a gifted songwriter, dancer and sound engineer. Additionally, he is a talented guitarist, drummer, trumpetist, and pianist (Roth, 2015). Very few pop artists of this age are gifted with all of these talents. Bieber also has a remarkable stage presence and always tries his hardest to put on the best shows for his fans. He goes above and beyond during his live performances, regularly outdoing the standards for graphics, dance and merchandise so he can give fans a memorable experience. In an article reviewing one of Bieber’s live shows one critic writes, “I found myself surprised through the night, not just musically, but several times because of his showmanship. Bieber pulled out tricks I had never seen before, including what looked like an MMA cage that was actually an LED screen. Another time, a trampoline was lowered from the ceiling with Bieber doing backflips.” (Wofford, 2016). Unquestionably, Bieber is extremely gifted and should be recognized by the public for his wide range of talents.
Justin Bieber has truly recreated himself since he became famous over a decade ago. He should be known for the artist he is now, not for the mistakes he once made. Bieber’s talents are often overlooked due to the reputation he established in his youth, making him one of the most underrated celebrities of his time. Music fans need to appreciate Justin Bieber’s growth, talents, and remarkable contributions to the music industry. Bieber’s career is just beginning, and he has the potential to become a timeless icon in music and entertainment.
Bieber, Justin. “Changes”. Changes, RMFG Records, 2020, www.spotify:track:521Os1SMlxmsoevsqyjNmJ. Accessed 22 March 2020.
Caulfield, Keith. “Justin Bieber Earns Seventh No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 Chart with ‘Changes’”. Billboard, 23 February 2020, https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/chart-beat/8551699/justin-bieber-changes-no-1-billboard-200-album-chart. Accessed 10 April 2020.
Cunningham, John. “Justin Bieber: Canadian Singer”, Encyclopedia Britannica, 15 April 2020, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Justin-Bieber. Accessed 19 April 2020.
Roth, Madline. “17 Times Justin Bieber Slayed on the Drums, Piano, Guitar, and Trumpet?!” MTV News, 14 May 2015, www.mtv.com/news/2160170/justin-bieber-multi-talented-musician/. Accessed 22 March 2020.
Sisario, Ben.“Justin Bieber Returns to No. 1 with ‘Changes’”. The New York Times, 24 February 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/02/24/arts/music/justin-bieber-changes-chart.html. Accessed 22 March 2020.
Weatherby, Taylor. “5 Things We Learned from Justin Biebers ‘Seasons’ Docu Series Premiere”. Billboard, 27 January 2020, www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/8549320/justin-bieber-seasons-documentary-premiere-what-we-learned. Accessed 22 March 2020.
Wofford, Jerry. “Review: Justin Bieber’s Serious Talent on Display at BOK Center Show”. Tulsa World, 8 April 2016, www.tulsaworld.com/entertainment/music/review-justin-bieber-s-serious-talent-on-display-at-bok/article_651ea621-cdeb-5898-9be9-d4b02f7b7223.html. Accessed 4 April 2020.
Yasharoff, Hannah. 12 February 2020. “Justin Bieber’s ‘Changes’ Through the Years, from ‘Baby’ Star to Serious ‘Intentions’”. USA Today, 12 February 2020, www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/music/2020/02/12/justin-bieber-changes-album-musical-personal-evolution/4723512002. Accessed 22 March 2020.
Zoladz, Lindsay. “Justin Bieber Finds His Bliss”. NPR, 18 February 2020, www.npr.org/2020/02/18/806973280/justin-bieber-finds-his-bliss. Accessed 22 March 2020.