The fall seems to be picking up speed for Justin Bieber.
The Canadian singer first came to public attention when his mother posted a video on YouTube of the then 12-year-old covering a popular song. His mom continued to put them up for family to see, when a marketing executive accidentally clicked on one of them.
At 13, Bieber was ushered off to record demo tapes after a bidding war for his services.
The rest, as they say, is history. His first single in January of 2010 charted in Canada and in several other international markets before he even had an album finished.
Four-and-a-half years later, Bieber is an international superstar. He has had a couple dozen songs on Canada’s top 40 and put Top 10 singles onto the charts in countries like Ireland, the U.S., Australia, France, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Denmark.
He has toured around the world, sold a great many of his four albums and earned millions upon millions of YouTube views.
Part of his appeal was the squeaky clean image that he projected, something that is increasingly being stripped away by the tender age of 20.
While you can argue that he is simply following the Miley Cyrus school of changing your wholesome image by doing wild things, elements of his behavior are increasingly looking like a cautionary tale for young stars.
Bieber has had a rough couple years growing up under an unrelenting public eye.
He has had several run-ins with police, and was finally arrested for reckless driving in the U.S. in 2014 and for vandalism in Brazil.
He told police at the time that he had been drinking, smoking marijuana and had taken Xanax, an anti-anxiety medication.
It’s little wonder why.
Bieber has been a target of the paparazzi and tabloid reporting since reaching the top. His relationships have been breathlessly reported and dissected.
Over the weekend, he had to apologize for a racist joke he told at age 15 that used the N-word.
Here’s what he wrote in his apology.
“I thought it was ok to repeat hurtful words and jokes, but I didn't realize at the time that it wasn't funny and that in fact my actions were continuing the ignorance,” the statement said. “Thanks to friends and family I learned from my mistakes and grew up and apologized for those wrongs. Now that these mistakes from the past have become public I need to apologize again to all of those who I have offended.”
You can dislike his music without hoping that bad things come to the person. (And if you are hoping for bad things to come to him, you may want to examine some of your own deep-rooted issues.)
You get the sense that he’s teetering right now and that his life could go in two very different directions.
Let’s hope for his sake that he manages to find the successful path that former child stars like Ron Howard, Jodie Foster and Drew Barrymore took.
The other path, taken by Dana Plato, River Phoenix and Corey Haim and others, led to early drug overdose deaths.
But as Bieber himself sang, never say never. Let’s hope it’s not too late for the young singer.
Prince Albert Daily Herald