As the amicable 17-year-old teen idol strolled into the room few hours before his debut concert My World Tour Singapore 2011, his lanky built framed by hulky security guards, cameras flashed furiously at the press conference held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Apr 19.
Made famous by his debut single ‘One Time’ in 2009, the then 15-year-old boyish teenager has outgrown his vocal cords and matured through the years. Following his meteoric rise to global success and fame, he recently released his biopic-concert/movie, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, a movie revolving around his life.
MediaCorp’s 98.7FM DJs Shan and Rozz welcomed Justin Bieber heartily on stage and Sandy Monteiro, President of Southeast Asia Universal Music Group, as well as Yvonne Yuen, Vice President for Marketing of Universal Music Group presented the Canadian pop/R&B singer with his very own skateboard-cum-plaque to commemorate sales of his My World 2.0 album in Southeast Asia totaling 600,000 units. “This is the best plaque I’ve ever received!” declared Bieber.
Before the acclaimed pubescent singer could spare a second for himself to compose his thoughts, 987 DJs Shan and Rozz grilled him on what was going through everyone’s minds – his thoughts on Singapore, as well as his relationship with his girlfriend, Disney star Selena Gomez.
“It’s my first time in Singapore and I really like it. I really like the people and everyone’s been very nice to me,” he said. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for Bieber fans, also known as “Beliebers”, Bieber’s response was that their relationship was still long-distance. “It’s hard to keep away from friends and family. It’s difficult, we don’t get to see each other very often,” the adolescent idol referred to his ‘Baby‘.
Fanatic Beliebers (And Paparazzi)
When asked about his arrival the day before at Singapore Changi Airport, Bieber addressed the disappointment of his fans who were eager to welcome him, disclosing that it was due to “security reasons”. He sheepishly admitted, “If I were to go through the front, it wouldn’t have been safe for me. I love my fans but I can’t be put in danger. Sometimes the girls get a little crazy and they just want to… grab you.”
“I don’t really get used to the screaming. It’s still really crazy to me that I’ve been touring and getting to see a lot of cool places. I’m having such a great time, everything’s been amazing and it’s just crazy just to be touring in Asia, so I’m excited.”
Being a star has its fair share of the ugly side, so to speak. It seemed like his encounter with the paparazzi in Israel had traumatised the young star as he told the audience the entire experience. “I was in a church, and I was looking at different places, where Jesus walked and stuff, and that was kind of really important to me. It just sucked that they ruined it and they didn’t have any respect, they were coming in the churches and that aggravated me because I thought they crossed the line.” Nonetheless, Bieber clarified that he understood the paparazzi have a job to do and he couldn’t argue with that.
World Without Strangers
Of course, fans were exhilarated as the Twitter-active celebrity announced his arrival on Twitter yesterday, which brought up the “R.I.P Justin Bieber” rumours that were going around months ago. “It’s hard for me (to not tweet) because the fans freak out as soon as I go a day without Twitter, they think I’m dead or something, so I try to [tweet] as much as I can.” Bieber’s influence is phenomenal, judging from his near-9 million followers on Twitter. He expressed, “For me it’s just about influencing others to just be themselves and always be confident in who you are. As long as people are just good people and continue to be nice to people and have a good heart, I think that’s how it can be a better place.” The young star’s reply sounded simple but equally admirable.
Evidently, the press conference was flooded with questions on Bieber’s most prized asset – his locks. Many had heard about Bieber cutting his hair for charity, which prompted the star to talk about it. “I’m not really used to it (his new hairstyle). Sometimes I still do it (flips hair), except now I don’t really have any hair to flip!” he said.
The seemingly ordinary teenager from Ontario, Canada, also cheekily pointed out that his hair care regime is like any ordinary 17-year-old boy’s: “I shower, then I get out! That’s about it.”
Coming of Age
Household names such as Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera were brought up in reference to Bieber’s success as a teen idol. A reporter audaciously remarked that the female artistes shed clothes to retain their fame and if Bieber is likely to use the same strategy to attain career longevity. “Well I’m a male, so it doesn’t really work! I think the transition is going to be smooth, taking it one step at a time. My next album is going to be a little bit more mature but I still want to reach audiences of young to old, so I’m not trying to limit myself. I just make music.”
And Bieber is doing his best to be a normal teenager. “I’m having a crazy life for a 17-year-old and it’s still the same. You have insecurities, you’re dating girls and trying to figure out who you are. At the same time, I’m trying to figure out who I am as an artiste.”
Fame is a double-edged sword and Justin Bieber has the best and worst of being, well, Justin Bieber. “I guess the best thing is being able to travel and have so many fans everywhere and that’s really special to me. The worst part is just being away from people. It’s just really hard and it’s really special when we (Bieber’s family) reunite.” he added.
Never Say Never
The multi-talented artiste, who can play guitar, drums, trumpet and piano, self-taught no less, isn’t limiting his career to just music. He revealed: “I don’t think I will ever stop doing music but I definitely want to explore movies. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never was a true story, they were just following me around with cameras so that wasn’t really hard for me, but it’s going to be a chance to just act!” The singer, who played a trouble teen on an episode of CSI, sheepishly mentioned Hollywood actress Jessica Alba as a preferred acting partner, which drew much laughter from the audience.
As a young star with only 2 years in the music industry, Bieber admits he has much to learn. “I’m going to make mistakes, I’m not going to be perfect, because I’m human. I’m going to try my best and I just want to be known as a great person. I want to be known as someone that stands by the music industry, someone who did things differently, someone who stayed true to who he was.”
And we believed the 9 million Beliebers will live long to see their majesty’s greatness.
Read UrbanWire’s story about 10 girls who battled for a chance to meet Bieber face to face.
Check out CTV’s feature on Justin Bieber in ‘Celebs Uncut’ here:
Photos by Tay Wan Lin, Klix Photography
Acknowledgements to Universal Music Singapore