We live in a society that doesn’t offer much sympathy for musical prodigies who rise to superstardom while very young.
From the start, Bieber was an icon.
The combination of his cool, mellow voice and youth made him perfect for teenage girls to love, and for everyone else to target with scorn. Once his first single “One Time” went platinum in the US and his debut album “My World 2.0” hit the top of the charts, Bieber reached the top echelon of the music industry.
But Bieber was also immediately placed under an intense global telescope. Like many childhood stars, he made troubling missteps, but now, his highly orchestrated comeback is working perfectly. At his lowest point last year, many thought Bieber would flame out. Now he’s making the rounds laughing at his own missteps on talk shows, and with two top-five songs currently in rotation, you can’t turn on the radio without hearing him sing. And his long-awaited fourth studio album out on Friday, “Purpose,” might even be bigger than his last in 2012 — even before it’s available, it’s already fifth on iTunes’ album chart.
Keep scrolling for a look at how Bieber started, how he fell, and how he’s getting back up.
Bieber has always loved music. In fact, he plays multiple instruments. After Bieber placed second singing in a talent competition at age 12, his mother, Pattie Mallette, put the song on YouTube.
The video got millions of views and notice from big names, eventually leading Bieber to be signed to a record deal with the help of hip-hop artist Usher.
In 2010, the release of what turned out to be Bieber's biggest song, 'Baby,' rocked the world. It quickly became the most watched YouTube video ever.
Bieber was just a teenager but was known worldwide. Speculation built as critics wondered whether he would be a one-hit wonder, but he kept making popular music.
In 2013, Bieber first made negative headlines after a video surfaced of him urinating into a restaurant's mop bucket. He was allegedly leaving a nightclub and decided to exit through the kitchen, but not before attempting to mark his territory. Toward the end of the video, Bieber can also be faintly heard saying, 'F--- Bill Clinton.' It was a black eye for Bieber's public image, but it was just the beginning.
In December 2013, he was charged with assaulting a limo driver. His case was later dropped by prosecutors when they realized they most likely wouldn't be able to get a conviction, but the damage to his reputation was done.
After a few months out of trouble, Bieber made headlines again for all the wrong reasons. In July 2014, Bieber was placed on probation after reaching a plea deal for egging a neighbor's house. He was ordered to pay over $80,000 in damages caused by the eggs, and he received a misdemeanor vandalism charge.
Just one month later, Bieber reached another plea deal for what became his most serious charge to date. He was arrested on suspicion of participating in an illegal drag race in Miami.
Bieber was charged with careless driving and resisting arrest, and as part of that deal he was ordered to take an anger-management course, donate $50,000 to charity, and pay a $500 fine.
In September 2014, Bieber was arrested on charges of dangerous driving and assault from an accident between an ATV he was riding and a minivan in Canada. He later pleaded guilty to the charges and received a fine.
Bieber was at a crossroads in his career. In the midst of his legal troubles, he had officially announced his retirement via Twitter. But in a later interview with a Los Angeles radio station, he walked back his declaration: 'I want to grow as an artist, and I'm taking a step out. I want my music to mature.'
Bieber then kept to himself for a while. He traveled and spent time away from music for much of 2014.
Knowing he was struggling, Bieber went back to the basics, and the people who know him best. Being one of Bieber's biggest role models, Usher intervened. 'I can say I'm not happy with all the choices my friend has made, but I'm supportive of him,' Usher told Billboard. 'He's making his own decisions and it's important to show support.'
But in caring about Bieber and his well-being so much, Usher said he's not scared to put him in line. 'Our relationship is more man-to-man now,' Usher added. 'I try my hardest to give as much positive reinforcement as I can. I'll punch him in the f------ chest when I need to, and give him a hug and kiss when I need to.' They go way back.
Bieber later said his childhood of fame eventually led to his problems.'I wouldn't suggest being a child star, it's the toughest thing in the world,' he said. 'Everything is so based on people's looks and stuff ... Look at the statistics on how many child stars have crumbled and turned out to be wack jobs. It's because it's f-----, bro, this lifestyle.'
After being out of the music scene for months, Bieber retook the spotlight for his Comedy Central roast in March of 2015.
Following the roast, Bieber addressed his fans publicly for the first time since he took a step back. 'I've turned a lot of people off in the last few years,' Bieber said. 'But I know I can still put out good music and turn everything all around.'
The comeback became real when Bieber's smash hit with artists Skrillex and Diplo 'Where Are Ü Now,' an unexpected departure into electronic music, hit airwaves early in 2015 and ascended up the charts as the summer got hotter.
After the success of 'Where Are Ü Now,' in a brilliant marketing effort, Bieber used many celebrities to help build anticipation for his next single, 'What Do You Mean?'
'What Do You Mean?' immediately went to No. 1 on the Billboard charts -- Bieber was officially back and one of the most prominent artists in the world again.
It all came full circle at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards. It was Bieber's first awards-show performance since his downfall, and after a warm reception from the crowd, he broke down in tears. When he later discussed the performance, he said the crowd's reception overwhelmed him. 'Honestly, I just wasn't expecting them to support me in the way they did,' he said. 'I've worked so hard at becoming the man I want to become.'
He now has a new look, and currently two of the top five songs in the country, 'What Do You Mean?' and 'Sorry.'
His upcoming album 'Purpose' is out Friday. It's projected to go immediately to No. 1 on Billboard's album chart. He starts a 58-date tour in March 2016 that will keep him busy through the first half of the year. Bieber's on top of the world -- the last place everyone expected him to be a year ago.
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