In 2013 and 2014, Justin Bieber pretty much had the worst years of his life. He went through everything from getting caught urinating in a restaurant mop bucket, to getting charged with a misdemeanor for vandalism, and to even getting arrested. He had lost a lot of fans because of his bad behavior and people hated him more than ever. We are now at the end of 2015, and there is no denying that it would be hard to find someone who isn’t a fan of Justin or his music now.
Justin’s manager Scooter Braun opened up about Justin’s past to the NY Times a couple of days ago.
When did Justin’s comeback campaign start in earnest?
As I started to see it going in the wrong direction, I started to prepare. I put deals in place where he was protected for the long run. And I started to prepare my company to scale, because I was not going to let him work. [After “Journals,” Mr. Bieber’s 2013 digital compilation,] he wanted to tour, and I honestly at that time felt, if he toured, he could die. I know people have seen the marketing and the A&R and everything we put together, and they’re like, “Wow, great job!” But I want to be really clear: I was trying to do that job for a year and a half, and I failed every single day. It wasn’t until something happened that it clicked for him. He made the conscious decision as a young man: “I need to make a change in my own life.” I decided I needed six months of that. I looked at Robert Downey Jr. and all these people — when you ask for redemption, people will give it to you. But if you’re the boy who cried wolf, they’ll destroy you. Once I saw there was consistency I said, O.K., now it’s time to go back in the professional life. The click happened about 20 months ago. Six months after that, you start seeing me planning a [Comedy Central] roast. And then the Calvin Klein ads come, and the roast comes.
How did the Comedy Central roast come about?
I had a meeting in the office, and I said: “O.K., guys, these are some of my ideas. What person do you think Justin should do the intense sit-down interview with? Is it Katie Couric? Do we call Oprah and see if we can do a special?” And Ava [Coleman] — 21 years old, at the time an intern — she said: “I just think my generation doesn’t care about that. I think if you want people to see that he’s for real, he should do a Comedy Central roast.” And I went: “That is genius. Get it done.” Twenty-four hours later, I was on the phone with Comedy Central.
Did you play up Justin’s real-life lows to make the redemption narrative that much more powerful?
Because to an outsider, it looks like what he was doing wasn’t that different from..
The outsiders don’t really know what was happening. It was far worse than people realize. And when he is ready, he will tell what he was going through. But it’s a hard thing to watch someone you care and genuinely love go through that. I’m really, really happy that’s over.
Scooter also talks about Carly Rae Jepsen and Ariana Grande in the NY Times interview. If you want to read what he has to say about them, click here. Do you think that Justin has learned from his past mistakes? Let us know by leaving a comment below or tweeting us at @CelebMix!