Scooter Braun opens up about Justin Bieber darkest days, revealing that his “troubles were far worse than people realized.” He also shares some details on the comeback we have witnessed as the former teen idol has emerged as a major pop music star.
Justin Bieber’s comeback was unmistakable, and massively promoted. We saw him as the subject of a Comedy Central Roast, we saw him modeling Calvin Klein underwear, we heard him as the featured artist in international club hit ‘Where Are Ü Now which became the precursor of his own comeback single, ‘What Do You Mean.’ And not to mention all those celebrities who also promoted. It was much, much fanfare but, it has been a success, as his ‘Purpose’ album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and the public, over time, has become forgiving of the former bad boy.
And behind it, the manager, Scooter Braun who first discovered the now 21-year-old when he was in his early teens, an unknown from a small town, Stratford in Ottawa, Canada, whose videos had gone viral.
In an extensive interview with The New York Times, Braun — profiled for his own success with his talent management company, SB Projects — had much to say about the comeback of his most famous client.
He said of the struggles that the world witnessed through sensationalized media coverage, tabloid headlines and social media chatter, ““The outsiders don’t really know what was happening. It was far worse than people realize.”
Braun went on to say, “And when he is ready, he will tell what he was going through. But it’s a hard thing to watch someone you care and genuinely love go through that. I’m really, really happy that’s over.”
He also spoke of how Justin Bieber himself had wanted to start his comeback by touring after the release of his ‘Journals’ album in December of 2013. Braun said, “I was not going to let him work. He wanted to tour, and I honestly at that time felt, if he toured, he could die.”
As for when and how the comeback began in earnest, Scooter Braun revealed, “I was trying to do that job for a year and a half, and I failed every single day.” He continued, saying, “It wasn’t until something happened that it clicked for him. He made the conscious decision as a young man: ‘I need to make a change in my own life.’”
But he didn’t take the words at face value; Braun needed concrete proof. He said, “I decided I needed six months of that.” Alluding to successful comebacks, he said, “I looked at Robert Downey Jr. and all these people — when you ask for redemption, people will give it to you. But if you’re the boy who cried wolf, they’ll destroy you.”
He also spoke of how the Comedy Central roast became the pivot point. He said it arose from a meeting with personnel of his company. Recalling that day, Braun said, he told attendees, “O.K., guys, these are some of my ideas. What person do you think Justin should do the intense sit-down interview with? Is it Katie Couric? Do we call Oprah and see if we can do a special?”
He went on to reveal that it was a 21-year-old, an intern at the time, who said that her generation “doesn’t care about that” and that the Comedy Central roast would enable “people to see that he’s for real.”
And, as we know, the rest is history. The roast was not only a ratings coup for the cable channel, but it got the comeback started, as Justin Bieber began to follow it up with a series of interviews, notably on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show,’ expressing his contrition.
You can see Scooter Braun’s full interview with The New York Times here and listen to the music of the post-comeback Justin Bieber below.
Pictures: PR Photos