If by chance you have an unmitigated loathing for all things Justin Bieber so far 2011 has not been your year. In February alone, the ubiquitous Canadian export—who has already sold over four million records since his 2009 debut My World and headlined a 2010 tour that pulled in a robust $35.6 million—scored a $30 million-grossing film with his sugary G-rated documentary Never Say Never and his second no. 1 pop album Never Say Never: The Remixes (283,000 copies). And when Bieber wasn’t dominating music charts and movie theaters, he was logging serious television time on the CBS crime drama C.S.I. and alongside unintelligible Heavy Metal Godfather Ozzy Osbourne in a genuinely laughable Best Buy ad.
It’s not enough to say that Justin Bieber is having a moment. What the walking 17-year-old multi-million dollar corporation is pulling off is a new age of pop star supremacy. This is an era when online social platforms such as YouTube, FaceBook and Twitter are the new dream factories. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on what side of the fence you are on) the expiration date on teen idols can be as fast as a mere blink.
Whether or not Bieber will be able to achieve the elusive teen-phenom-turned-successful-adult-star evolution of Michael Jackson, Usher, and Britney Spears is anyone’s guess. But VIBE has gathered advice from New York Magazine scribe Amos Barshad, Entertainment Weekly staff writer Brad Wete and Michael Bivins, founding member of the legendary R&B group New Edition, to provide a blueprint to the teen performer’s impending move to adult pop star. It’s the difference between becoming the next Justin Timberlake or Aaron Carter. Choose wisely, young Bieber.—Keith Murphy