You know you’ve officially caught it. Bieber Fever. In the midst of his industry takeover, VIBE catches up with Justin Bieber, the young heartthrob / Usher mentee who’s bodied the industry and has every crazed teenie bopper armed with an autograph pen in tears.
Interview: Lola Ogunnaike
VIBE: Are you used to the fame now or are there still moments when you think to yourself, Wow, this is my life?
Justin Bieber: It’s been pretty crazy traveling the world and living my dream. Not many people get to do what I’m doing. It’s amazing. My favorite thing is being able to travel around the world and perform for my fans. I think I’ve lost 80 percent of my hearing. I definitely have very loud fans.
When did you realize that you had officially become a phenomenon?
I got to meet the President [Barack Obama] a few times. I got a tour of the White House. He’s really cool and down to earth. I thought he was going to be really reserved, but he was cool. I met [the First Daughters, Sasha and Malia] when I went to the White House and they were nice.
What was cooler: Meeting the president or meeting Oprah?
That’s a tough one. Oprah was really cool. She came in the dressing room afterwards, met my parents and grandparents.
The Internet has been very good to you. Did you have any idea that posting your videos on YouTube would make you a star?
I posted the videos on YouTube for fun, just messing around. I never was a kid who wanted to be famous. I’m from Stratford, Ontario, a very small town, 30,000 people. I didn’t have money for a manager. We didn’t have a lot of money [period].
Where do you think you’d be right now if YouTube didn’t give you a forum to reach the world?
Without the Internet I would have no fans and I wouldn’t be in this business. I owe everything to the Internet and my fans.
Let’s talk numbers. You’ve amassed more than 150 million views on your YouTube channel, nearly 3 million fans on Facebook and more than 2 million Twitter followers. Those numbers basically mean that you’re one of the most watched people in the world. What do you make of those numbers?
I was checking my Twitter yesterday and I have almost 4 million followers [now], have YouTube 300 million. It’s crazy how everything is blowing up.
What’s the worst part about being famous?