Thursday, March 12, 2020

The Evolution Of Justin Bieber

On Feb. 14, 2020, the same day that Justin Bieber's new album was released, YouTube — the platform on which he'd famously been discovered — celebrated its 15th birthday. A cherubic, shaggy-haired Bieber was even a few years younger than that when he started uploading videos to the streaming site. These digital time capsules still exist in their original forms: covers of songs by Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake, and Ne-Yo, all marked with the not-quite-hashtag-catchy description "Justin singing." The videos' descriptions link to his Myspace page, and some of them clarify that his last name "sounds like Beeber." In the clip for his cover of "Cry Me a River," the body of his acoustic guitar looks bigger than he is.

Some YouTube rabbit hole or another led Scooter Braun, a manager and one-time executive at So So Def Records, to one of Bieber's videos. You know the rest of the story: By age 13, Bieber was recording demos with his eventual mentor, Usher; by 16, he was a global icon who admittedly had to sing some of his earliest hits in a lower key when he performed them live, because his voice was changing. The first true superstar of the YouTube era, Bieber's career nonetheless took a traditional shape, familiar to anyone who's ever watched an episode of Behind the Music. He started partying too hard. He got in trouble with the law. He fell from grace and then, thanks to a megachurch, a team of doctors, and eventually the love of his wife Hailey Baldwin Bieber, he announced to the world, on the same platform that had helped him get his voice out in the first place, that he was ready for his comeback.

In the days leading up to the release of Changes, Bieber gradually rolled out episodes of his self-produced documentary series, Seasons. After all these years, he was still the boy-king of YouTube: The first episode racked up a record-setting 32.65 million views in its first week. (With over 50 million subscribers, Bieber remains the most-followed person on YouTube.) Seasons is only as candid and impartial as a documentary that someone has executive-produced about themselves can be expected to be, but it does finally bring some of the darker, unspoken parts of the Bieber story into the clarity of light. "Was there anything that really concerned me?" says his longtime friend and associate Ryan Good. "Maybe the lean, when he was drinking that. Can I say that?" (The executive-producer allowed it.) There's a similarly performative hesitance when Bieber is recalling his earliest experiments with drugs, as though he suddenly remembers that parents who once considered him a role model might be watching. "The first time I smoked weed I was... I don't suggest this, but I was 13," he says. "12 or 13." Later, he admits, "My security and stuff were coming into the room at night to check my pulse. Like, people don't know how serious it got. It was legit crazy scary."

The darkest section of the series begins with a jarring disclaimer: "This episode contains raw and honest discussions about addiction and anxiety. It may be triggering for some." Even just a few years ago, it would have been hard to imagine a Justin Bieber documentary coming with a trigger warning, but something about the tone of Seasons encapsulates a change in how we talk about modern pop stardom and mental health. From Elvis to Amy Winehouse, plenty of musicians have struggled publicly with demons and fame, but few of them ever named and owned their struggles in the way that's now becoming accepted — and in some cases even expected — for celebrities to do. Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish are just a few of the young superstars who have made music about their struggles with anxiety; Zayn Malik and the rising R&B singer Summer Walker, who appears on Bieber's Changes, have both cancelled concerts to take care of their mental health.

Lizzo Believes She's Popular Because She Spreads Kindness and Light

The 'Good as Hell' hit maker's creative output comes from a place of wanting to be a "kinder & happier" person herself & she says that is having an impact on her fans around the world.

According to the Daily Star newspaper's Wired column, Lizzo - who performed a four-song medley at the BRIT Awards at The O2 arena in London recently said: "I wanted to be a kinder, happier person and the fact that now it's impacting the world means the worlds to be kinder and nicer to each other.

"I think that's all that means and that's why I'm so popular right now.

"We have seen some really dark days recently and I just want to be a part of that light."

The hit maker recently vowed to make people "dance & smile" after a "rough start" to 2020.

The 31-year-old superstar was left devastated by the bushfires in Australia - which saw homes destroyed, animals wiped out and people killed - and said she wanted to see people have some fun to take their minds off the tragic start to the year.

She said: "It just feels like there's one tragedy on top of another, lots of fear right now & uncertainty in the world. It's been a rough start to the year & I think we all need to dance, we all need to smile."

Pharrell Williams to Join Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation Board

Pharrell Williams has joined the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Board of Directors.

The Happy hitmaker joins the organisation alongside a host of record and entertainment executives, including Universal Music Group's Michele Anthony and Jody Gerson, and Sony/ATV Music Publishing's Jon Platt.

"We're both fortunate and honoured to welcome these creative leaders in music and entertainment to our Board," chairman John Sykes said in a statement obtained by Variety. "Each brings to our Board deep experience and extensive knowledge of music that will help us continue to grow the Foundation as a true cultural institution."

The Foundation's board helps oversee each year's inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with the class of 2020 featuring Depeche Mode, the Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Nine Inch Nails, The Notorious B.I.G., and T.Rex.

According to the organisation's statement, the Board of Directors will, "support the Foundation's mission to engage, teach and inspire through the power of rock and roll, recognising the indelible role rock and roll music plays in modern life and culture."

This year's induction ceremony will take place on 2 May at the Public Auditorium in Cleveland, Ohio.