At 20 years old, Justin Bieber is a grown man with a big bank account and the freedom to do what he wants (within reason).
But three years ago, he was just on the brink of turning 18—a legal adult, here in the United States—and his mom, Pattie Mallette, and manager, Scooter Braun, were well aware he would later need to transition out of child stardom into actual adulthood. In a newly penned New York Magazine piece, writer Vanessa Grigoriadis looks at Mallette and Braun had to say about the matter back in 2011.
"I hope I've instilled enough values in Justin that he makes the right choices," said Mallette. "Everyone goes through experimentation, whether in partying or another aspect of their life. They want to experience their own independence. And for Britney [Spears] and some of the others, having to make those mistakes judged by the entire world [is hard]…I don't believe Justin will go down that road," she said. "And if he does, I think it would be short-lived."
As for Braun? He was confident he'd been preparing the pop star for a successful foray into independence. "Do I have to help Justin grow up, do I have to set boundaries, do I have to help him become a man? I think that's 99 percent of my job," he said.
"Justin is already talented—I can find records for him all day. No child star has ever lost as an adult because of their talent, ever," he said. "You can't say, 'Oh, their talent just disappeared when they hit 20.' They always lose because of their personal life—drugs, alcohol—every single time. So I tell Justin, 'The few exceptions just didn't fall into that s---t.'...It's just not as hard as everyone thinks."
Hmm. In the New York Magazine feature, Grigoriadis takes a hard look back at her interview as well as at the Biebs' "cosseted, feral public life." Part of his perceived immaturity, she asserts, comes from being shot to superstardom so young. "It's a known known among people who work with famous people that famous people are psychologically stuck at the age they became famous," she writes, "and Bieber is eternally 14."
But the Biebs didn't necessarily have the ability to ever get off the fame train, Grigoriadis reasons, drawing upon Braun's words.
"Justin sat down and told me he didn't like being famous," Braun told her, so he told his client, "We can do the teenage-pop-star thing with no long-term career plan, and we can ride this thing for a few years, and your career will be done—and I mean over—or we can stick to our current plan, which is following in the creative footsteps of Michael Jackson."
Braun then told a young Biebs, according to Grigoriadis, that if he wanted a career like that of the late King of Pop's, "You have to grasp that you're never going to be normal again."