4. → BEWARE THE GHOST OF AARON CARTER
Even as The Bieb continues to conquer the globe at a scary pace (the kid has ignited riots from New Zealand to Long Island, New York), the specter of Aaron Carter is never too far behind. Remember Carter? The kid brother of Backstreet Boy Nick Carter; a late ‘90s/early 00’s multi-platinum cash cow who sold millions of albums and boasted a seemingly endless legion of screaming girls. Today at 23, the long since fallen Carter has become a sad answer to a trivia question as he has battled drug addiction and spent time in rehab.
Of course we are not simply suggesting that Bieber will end up as strung-out former teen-idol who now has to sing at pig fairs in Mississippi just to pay the bills. But shit happens. “His handlers are definitely preparing for that evolution,” Barshad says. “I was talking to the director of Bieber’s movie and he kept talking about how they’re focused on making this part one of a long career. They are very concerned about that next step. They are having conversations and monitoring the situation to figure out what they should do next.”
Michael Bivins believes that Bieber’s team, which includes his protective mother Pattie Mallette and savvy manager Scooter Braun, has so far handled the Tween King’s rapid ascension like seasoned pros. Bivins, who went on to find platinum acclaim as a member of New Edition spin-off group BBD and managed the careers of Another Bad Creation, 702, and best-selling vocal group Boyz II Men, stresses that having a strong support system is key to avoiding the cautionary tales that have destroyed so many teen musicians.
“There were trials and tribulations,” says the founder of the entertainment company Sporty Rich Enterprises, recalling his own experience as a teen idol, which included discovering at the age of 15 that he and New Edition were virtually broke after returning home from their first sold-out major concert tour. “When you work really hard and you are on tour for three years and you are 14 and17 years old and your entire life is a hotel, a plane, an autograph session and girls screaming, it can get overwhelming. You are forced to keep a smile on your face no matter what. You look at the finances you are bringing in and you are forced to grow up. You want to take care of the bills and take the pressure off your mom and pops. You have no choice but to mature faster.”
“But when you are a young artist you really want to still do the things that young people do whether it be playing video games or cracking jokes with your friends,” Bivins adds. “It’s hard to know where to cut it off. If you don’t have the right people around you to make sure you get that time to be a kid, when you get older you go crazy because no one ever balanced you out. That’s why I like the fact that Bieber’s mom is playing a huge role in her son’s career. You can tell she gets it.”