Justin Bieber’s VIBE Feature: The Normal, Abnormal Life of Justin

News

/ August 15, 2012

*Scan the QR code on Bieber’s picture (above) to get Behind the Scenes video and exclusive photos*

THE NORMAL, ABNORMAL LIFE OF JUSTIN
$100 MILLION MAN-CHILD JUSTIN BIEBER ISN’T IMPRESSED BY HIS OWN WEALTH. ALTHOUGH HE’S TAKING FINANCIAL POINTERS FROM MONEY TEAM’S FLOYD MAYWEATHER, HE’S MORE IN NEED OF A SIT-DOWN WITH QUINCY JONES. IT’LL HELP HIS DIVINE PLAN TO BE THE BEST… OF ALL TIME
WRITTEN BY LOLA OGUNNAIKE / PHOTOS BY SCOTT COUNCIL
STYLED BY DAVID THOMAS AT OPUS BEAUTY

Backstage at Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show, Justin Bieber is lounging in a dressing room, quietly nursing a cold. Despite it being a balmy afternoon in Burbank, Calif., he’s at the tail end of a phlegmy, throat-clearing cough that rattles his slight frame like a pair of maracas. His eyes, brown and Keane-painting wide, are heavy. He’d much rather be under the covers than under the probing watch of this reporter. So, he coughs again and wipes a bit of spittle from his perfect pout. It’s hard to believe that moments earlier he was driving the Ellen audience into screaming, hip-swiveling hysterics with “Boyfriend,” the first single from his latest album, Believe.

“You can’t let it show,” Bieber says, sounding like a seasoned performer. “You have to be a professional.” While most kids his age are readying themselves for beer binges and other college high jinks, pop’s reigning prince is preparing for more money, minimal problems. No time for sick days and even less time for sleep. A new album, a worldwide tour, dozens of businesses and investments and a longtime girlfriend—Selena Gomez, if you’ve been in a coma—all require his full attention.

Forbes recently named him the third most powerful celebrity in the land (Jennifer Lopez topped the list and Oprah Winfrey was number two). It would be an impressive accomplishment at any age, but given the fact that Bieber is only 18—which means he can’t legally drink, just earned the right to vote and won’t be eligible for say a presidential run for another 17 years, if he was an American citizen—makes it even more laudable. Bieber, though thankful for the Forbes love, wasn’t all that impressed when he heard the news. His reaction? “Oh, that’s cool,” he recalls, reeking of teenage insouciance. “I wasn’t like, ‘Oh, that’s awesome!’ I could really care less.”

When one has Bieber money, one can pretty much afford to do anything one wants, and that includes not giving a rat’s ass about much other than music. That he’s managed to remain levelheaded and stay out of trouble thus far (minus the occasional skirmish with an overzealous paparazzo or baseless baby-daddy accusation, which he addresses on the song “Maria,” his version of “Billie Jean”) is a feat. That, however, doesn’t mean he’s perfect. “He has his moments,” says Allison Kaye, general manager at Scooter Braun, the company that oversees Bieber’s career. “But when I get ahead of myself and want to strangle him, I think about the fl ip side. If he wasn’t being a crazy 18-year-old, he’d be a creepy robot kid. I’d rather him be a normal 18-year-old.”

*Scan the QR code on Bieber’s picture (above) to get Behind the Scenes video and exclusive photos*