By: Abdullah AlMolhem
Justin Bieber, Grammy nominated pop superstar, has risen from suburban obscurity to being a household name with little more than hard work and an unbelievable talent. That’s what his publicists would have you believe at least… let’s get down to it. Here is the video for his first single “One Time.”
Though this was his professional breaking point as many might say it, the Bieber for superstar campaign began much earlier. Before he was a known figure , Bieber had a youtube account and a guitar. He sang his song, people liked it, and someone noticed. That someone was producer Scooter Braun. He immediately flew out to see Bieber, within a week Braun and Usher outbid Justin Timberlake in signing Bieber. This is where it gets interesting, instead of popping him in the studio and making an album, they held off. According to Jan Hoffman’s New York time article on the pop star, Braun wanted to “build him up more on YouTube first.” He continues “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.”
That was one of his first videos posted on the web, and people certainly did feel like it was theirs. After this youtube campaign and the viral nature his videos had taken on, it was time to release the single, “one time.” The song had four writers and five producers, none of which were Justin Bieber. The single was accompanied by a professionally shot music video, a “swagger coach” and Usher himself backing the track.
Biebers image is what is selling his albums. We’ve heard the songs, we’ve seen the looks, we know the story. His “rags to riches” “never say never” message has inspired millions of kids and even adults around the world they they can do it to. But without the interest of a major producer and a team of professional writers, it’s next to impossible.
Just like the Virginia Slims woman in Bordo’s article, Bieber is a fantasy figure. An unattainable goal. He, despite his minor status, has been sexualized as a heartthrob by television and magazines alike. Justin Bieber is little more than advertisement with a good voice. In the end, it’s not his fault. He’s been swallowed up by the machine and it’s working, he’s sellable.