His debut single, "One Time", was released worldwide during 2009, and charted within the top thirty in over ten countries. It was followed by his debut release, My World on November 17, 2009, which was certified platinum in the United States, which at the time gave Bieber the highest debut by a new artist in the year, and made Bieber the first artist to have seven songs from a debut album chart on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. His first full studio release, My World 2.0 was released on March 23, 2010, debuting at number one and within the top ten of several countries. It was preceded by the international hit song, "Baby".
Bieber was born on March 1, 1994 in Stratford, Ontario. Bieber's mother, Pattie Mallette, was 18 years old when she became pregnant with her son. Bieber was raised as an only child by Mallette, who worked low-paying office jobs, though Bieber maintains contact with his father. As he grew, Bieber taught himself to play the piano, drums, guitar, and trumpet. In late 2007, when he was twelve, Bieber sang Ne-Yo's "So Sick" for a local singing competition in Stratford and placed second. Mallette posted a video of the performance on YouTube for their family and friends to see. She continued to upload videos of Bieber singing covers of various R&B songs, and Bieber's popularity on the site grew.
While searching for videos of a different singer, Scooter Braun, a former marketing executive of So So Def, clicked on one of Bieber's videos by accident. Impressed, Braun tracked down the theater Bieber was performing in, located Bieber's school, and finally contacted Mallette. Mallette was reluctant; she remembered praying, "God, I gave him to you. You could send me a Christian man, a Christian label!" However, after praying with her church elders and receiving their encouragement, she permitted Braun to fly Bieber, then 13,to Atlanta, Georgia to record demo tapes.
A week after arriving, Bieber sang for R&B singer/songwriter Usher, who arranged an audition with Antonio L.A. Reid at Island Records, who in turn signed him to Island Records in October 2008. Justin Timberlake was reportedly in the running to sign Bieber, but he eventually signed with Usher. Bieber and his mother then moved to Atlanta, also the home of Usher and Braun, to base his career.
Bieber's first single, "One Time", was released to radio while Bieber was still recording his debut album. The song reached number 12 on the Canadian Hot 100 during its first week of release in July 2009, and later peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100. During fall 2009 it had success in international markets. The song was certified Platinum in Canada and the U.S. and Gold in the Australia and New Zealand. Bieber's first album My World, was released on November 17, 2009. Three consecutive singles, "One Less Lonely Girl", "Love Me", and "Favorite Girl", were released exclusively on the iTunes store and charted within the top forty of the Billboard Hot 100. The previous was also released to radio and peaked within the top fifteen in the Canada and the U.S., being certified Gold in the latter. My World was eventually certified Platinum in the U.S. and Canada and Silver in the UK. To promote the album, Bieber performed in several live shows such as mtvU's VMA 09 Tour, European program The Dome, YTV's The Next Star and The Today Show, The Wendy Williams Show, Lopez Tonight, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, It's On with Alexa Chung, Good Morning America, Chelsea Lately, and BET's 106 & Park with Rihanna. Bieber also guest starred in an episode of True Jackson, VP in late 2009.
Bieber performed Stevie Wonder's "Someday at Christmas" for U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the White House for Christmas in Washington, which was broadcast on December 20, 2009 on USA television broadcaster TNT. Bieber was also one of the performers at Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest on December 31. Bieber was a presenter at the 52nd Grammy Awards on January 31, 2010. He was invited to be a vocalist for the remake of We Are The World for its 25th anniversary to benefit Haiti after the earthquake. Bieber sings the opening line, which was sung by Lionel Richie in the original version. On March 12, 2010, a version of K'naan's "Wavin' Flag" recorded by a collective of Canadian musicians known as Young Artists for Haiti was released. Bieber is featured in the song, performing the closing lines.
"Baby", the lead single from the second half of his debut album, which features Ludacris, was released in January 2010 and became his biggest hit thus far, charting at number five in the U.S. and reaching the top ten in seven other countries. Two digital singles, "Never Let You Go", and "U Smile" were top thirty hits on the U.S. Hot 100, and top twenty hits in Canada. According to review aggregator Metacritic, the album has received "generally favorable reviews". It debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, making Bieber the youngest solo male act to top the chart since Stevie Wonder in 1963. My World 2.0 also debuted at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart, Irish Albums Chart, and Australian Albums Chart, and the New Zealand Albums Chart and reached the top ten of fifteen other countries. To promote the album, Bieber appeared on several live programs including The View, the 2010 Kids Choice Awards, Nightline, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Dome and 106 and Park. On April 10, 2010, Bieber was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live.
Bieber will begin recording his next release in Summer 2010 in New York City. British singer and songwriter Taio Cruz has confirmed he is writing on Bieber's next project.
Bieber's voice is now deeper than it was when he recorded his albums because of puberty. The singer discussing his vocals remarked, "It cracks. Like every teenage boy, I'm dealing with it and I have the best vocal coach in the world. Some of the notes I hit on "Baby" I can't hit anymore. We have to lower the key when I sing live."
According to Jan Hoffman of The New York Times, part of Bieber's appeal stems from his YouTube channel. In contrast to singers whose careers were launched by high profile franchises like American Idol or the Disney Channel, "Justin, his fans passionately believe, is homemade. Long before he released his EP, “My World,” in mid-November, the YouTube videos attracted millions of views." Braun recognized the appeal. Prior to flying him to Atlanta, Braun wanted to "build him up more on YouTube first" and had Bieber record more home videos for the channel. "I said: ‘Justin, sing like there’s no one in the room. But let’s not use expensive cameras.’ We’ll give it to kids, let them do the work, so that they feel like it’s theirs," recalled Braun. Bieber continues to upload videos to the same channel and has opened a Twitter account, from which he interacts with fans regularly. The accounts also serve marketing purposes; for example, Bieber's music video for "One Time" only began selling quickly after it was uploaded to YouTube.
Usher comments that while he and Bieber were both signed at the same time, "I had the chance to ramp up my success, where this has happened to Bieber abruptly." As a result, Usher, Braun, Bieber's bodyguard, Kenny, and other adults surrounding Bieber constantly coach him on handling fame and his public image. After signing Bieber, Usher appointed one of his former assistants, Ryan Good, to be Bieber's road manager and stylist. Good, nicknamed Bieber's "swagger coach", helped develop Bieber's public image. Good created a "streetwise look" for the singer which consisted of baseball caps, hoodies, dog chains and flashy sneakers. Amy Kaufman of The Los Angeles Times comments, "Though a product of a middle-class suburban upbringing in Stratford, Ontario, Bieber's manner of dress and speech ("Wassup man, how you doin'?" or "It's like, you know, whateva' ") suggest he's mimicking his favorite rappers."
Bieber is often featured in teen magazines such as Tiger Beat, and has been labeled a "teen hearthrob".
Crowd control problems
Thousands of screaming fans showed up at a US mall to see Bieber on November 27, 2009
Bieber's popularity has caused safety concerns. While promoting My World, Bieber was scheduled to appear at Long Island's Roosevelt Field Mall, but the performance had to be cancelled. Over 3,000 screaming fans showed up for the appearance. The event got out of control, and over 35 units from the Nassau County and Garden City police departments had to be called in. Several fans received minor injuries. The police arrested an Island Records senior vice-president, James A. Roppo, reportedly for hindering the police's crowd control efforts by not sending a timely message on Twitter as instructed by the police. James Roppo pleaded not guilty to all charges. On March 24, 2010 Bieber's manager, Scooter Braun, was arrested on one count of second-degree reckless endangerment and one count of second-degree criminal nuisance related to the incident. Braun pleaded not guilty to both charges and was later released.
On April 27, 2010, a scheduled promotional performance was cancelled by Australian police after several girls were injured in a crowd crush. Bieber was scheduled to sing three songs for the Channel Seven program, Sunrise. An estimated 4,000 pre-teen girls showed up at 3:00am and stormed past safety barricades. In addition to those injured, dozens were treated for hyperventilation. In a Twitter message after the incident, Bieber said: "I want to make this clear... I don't cancel.” Bieber's tweet continued, stating: “I woke up this morning to the police canceling the show for safety reasons. I’m very happy about the welcome and the love from around the world, but I want everyone to still remember my fans safety comes first. At the end of the day I want you all to enjoy the music."
Arriving at Auckland airport in New Zealand later that day, RadioLIVE New Zealand reported on airport security's efforts to keep Bieber out of trouble. He later tweeted that somebody stole his hat and "knocked down [his] mama." The teenage girl who stole the hat then uploaded a video to the Internet, outlining the demands of her extortion attempt. The next day, she returned the hat amid speculation of possible criminal charges.