Pop sensation Justin Bieber is only 16 years old, but already has a dramatic tale to tell of his rapid rise to fame. In his autobiography Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever, released this week, Bieber tells the story of the day his mother got a phone call that changed Bieber’s life.
One day, she got a call from the school district. A guy named Scooter Braun had called them looking for this kid from Stratford.
“I’m very skeptical of anyone in the music industry,” said Mom. “I wish they’d leave him alone.”
They gave her Scooter’s phone number, but she didn’t call him back. So Scooter began calling around to people in the area, trying to find us. He was so persistent that my mom agreed to call him back from a blocked number to hear him out.
“Please, listen to me for just a minute, Pattie,” Scooter said. “And then, if you don’t want to hear from me again, you won’t have to. I just want to say I see something really special in your son. And I see a lot of myself in him, except when I was that age I had no talent. I think I can help him.”
The fact that Mom didn’t immediately hang up got me thinking. Maybe this is for real. Maybe this is how it starts. I mean, when you’re singing in the shower, pretending to be a rock star, you’re not actually thinking about how that happens.
Scooter definitely had me interested, but what he was talking about sounded like the plot of a movie, not something that happens to a real guy in real life. But Scooter’s own life kind of sounded like a movie.
“So whose career are you building now?” Mom asked, ready to Google it and call him out if he tried to BS her.
“I just signed a rapper named Asher Roth. He’s just getting started, but we’ve got big plans and I’m excited about his opportunities.
“I guess, Pattie, the biggest thing you’ve got to know about me, is that I want to make sure your son never has any ‘what ifs?’ “
Scooter ended up winning some points with her over the course of a long conversation.
He gave her a long list of impressive references and they just ended up talking about family and morals for about two hours. He seemed like a good guy. Mom said she’d think about it, but she warned me not to get my hopes up.
By this time the YouTube views were up into tens of thousands. One video had been viewed over 72,000 times and had multiple “honors,” which show up when the video is generating a lot of interest. School started in the fall, and, during morning announcements one day, they played a montage of my YouTube videos, which had come to their attention because of Scooter’s original phone call. I was still keeping that as sort of a secret identity as far as school was concerned. Kids at school had no idea I did music. They didn’t hang out at the tourist places where I was busking. I was almost thirteen and still waiting for a growth spurt. If people knew me at all, they knew me as an athlete. Some of them thought it was their job to put me in my place, and I had a sinking feeling this video montage thing was going to make them even tougher on me.
When Mom finally let me talk to Scooter on the phone, I was like, “Dude, why did you do that? That was totally embarrassing. Don’t you know eighth-graders eat their wounded? I don’t need that kind of exposure.”
Scooter laughed, which made me laugh too. After an hour or so, we were talking as if we’d known each other for years. We really are a lot alike in many ways, one of the most important being that we like a lot of the same music.
“Justin,” he said, “I’m really excited to talk to you. I’ve spoken to your mom and it looks like she’s going to allow me to fly you down to Atlanta on your first flight ever. When you get down here we’ll see if you can beat me in HORSE like you claim.” We’ve been playing HORSE ever since.
“No can do,” I told him. “We’re going to Disney World. I’ve been saving for the tickets. It’s our first vacation, and I’m paying for it.”
He kept working on us, and Mom and I talked it over ’til late at night.
“This might be an incredible opportunity, Mom. I don’t want to screw it up.”
“If this is what you want to do …” she nodded, “let’s go to Atlanta. Disney World will still be there when we get back.”
From the book JUSTIN BIEBER: FIRST STEP 2 FOREVER by Justin Bieber. Copyright © 2010 by Bieber Time Books LLC. Published by arrangement with HarperCollins Publishers.
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