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Neon Limelight Interviews: Usher Protege Justin Bieber: Accidental Star

beebsIt’s a story that’s beginning to be a familiar one: singer puts video on YouTube, people love it, the videos get popular, the music industry comes calling. That’s how Hollywood Records found pop/folk singer Marie Digby and how Justin Timberlake discovered Dutch darling Esmee Denters. But none of their stories seem to be as concocted by kismet as Justin Bieber.

The Ontario, Canada native started singing at the ripe old age of 12. He entered a school talent show on a whim, and, to his surprise, landed in second place with no real practice at all.

To share his victory with his family and friends who were unable to attend, he uploaded a video of his performance to YouTube. But what was meant to be a private video became very public. People got word of this talented kid singing R&B songs almost older than he was and began to latch on. Nudged by the public’s interest, Justin and his mom continued to upload videos, in which he covered songs by Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Rihanna, and Ne-Yo.

It wasn’t long before Justin made fans in very high places. Bieber got set up with notable artist manager Scooter Braun to start work on his demo. But it was a chance meeting with R&B star Usher that changed everything.

Now, under the watchful eye of Usher and Island Records big wig L.A. Reid, the 15-year-old is ready to make his mark with his debut album, My World, being released this fall. The album promises to showcase top-notch R&B-flavored pop with Bieber’s natural, unfiltered vocal styling.

Neon Limelight spoke to Justin to get a look into his world. He told us about his “accidental” rise to fame, working with Usher, the pressure to succeed, and girls.

Neon Limelight: Hi Justin! How are you?

Justin Bieber: I’m great. I just kinda woke up.

NL: Cool! So I’m the first one of the day?

JB: Yup yup!

NL: Awesome! I like to be first so that my questions aren’t stale.

JB: Funny!

NL: Are you used to the whole interview process yet?

JB: Yeah, I do it a lot now.

NL: Cool or creepy?

JB: No, I like it. It’s fun.

NL: So, having Usher introduce you to the world has got to be pretty cool, right?

JB: Yeah. Very, very, very, very cool. I couldn’t have a better situation.

NL: But it also has to come with a little bit of pressure. Do you ever feel like ‘Usher’s backing me. I have to deliver’?

JB: Well, I mean, I’m kind of a perfectionist, so I always like to do my best. Yeah… I guess there’s a little bit of pressure, but I don’t think he puts that on me. I think that it’s just me.

NL: Well, it has to be a good pressure because at the same time people are like, ‘Well, if Usher is backing this kid, he has to be good.’ What kind of advice has Usher given you so far? How has he guided you?

JB: He just basically told me to keep my head on straight. Make sure to stay grounded. I mean, he’s been through the whole process. He’s done it all before so he’s kind of coaching me. He’s kind of my mentor.

NL: You sing like you’ve been doing it forever. When did you start?

JB: I started singing when I was about 12. Actually, I was in a singing competition and I got second place. I was in the singing competition and my friends and family that couldn’t make it wanted to be there but they couldn’t, so my mom and I posted videos of the competition on YouTube for them to see and I guess it just blew up. I started to get like a million views — it was just crazy. Then my manager contacted me, flew me out to Atlanta where I met Usher totally randomly. Usher was going to the studio the same time as me and I ran up to him as fast as I could. I was like, “Usher, Usher! I love your songs! You want me to sing you one?” He gets so many people every day asking him [if they can] sing for him and give him their demo, so I didn’t get to sing for him. But a week later, Usher got to look at my videos and he flew me back to Atlanta, where I met him again and got to sing for him, and I guess the rest is history. I’m signed with Usher now.

NL: There had to have been a moment before you entered the talent contest that you realized you had a pretty good voice and maybe you should try it.

JB: Well, I just did it for fun. I wasn’t trying to be famous or anything.

NL: What was the first song you ever sang where you realized you had a great voice?

JB: I don’t know if I remember. I think maybe “So Sick” by Ne-Yo.

NL: You kinda fell into music but what made you want to take this seriously and make it your career?

JB: It was all by accident, like I said. I just kinda fell into it, and I love it and I couldn’t be in a better position.

NL: Definitely. Did you ever think of doing anything else as a career when you were growing up?

JB: No. Well, I wasn’t really thinking of that. I mean, I was just being a regular kid. I didn’t really think of that stuff yet.

NL: Let’s talk about your album for a second. Who are you working with on it?

JB: I’ve been working with Tricky [Stewart] and The-Dream, I’ve worked with Bryan Michael Cox, Johnta Austin. I’ve worked with a bunch of other people. I worked with The Movement, The Clutch. A lot of good producers and stuff.

NL: Yeah, and being based in Atlanta, you have to meet a lot of great people.

JB: Yeah, there’s a lot great people in the music industry here in Atlanta.

NL: Has there been someone you wanted to work with but they were kind of, “Uhh, I don’t want to work with this kid,” but you convinced them?

JB: I don’t think so.

NL: So pretty much everyone was on board from the beginning?

JB: Yeah.

NL: That’s awesome! So, you have a duet with Usher on the album.

JB: Yeah.

NL: What was it like recording that?

JB: It was really amazing. I never would have guessed that I would be able to do a collaboration with Usher.

NL: What is the song about?

JB: Well, I’m not gonna give away too many details so you guys are just going to have to see on the album. [laughs]

NL: [laughs] OK! So, this career, even though you just fell into it, has to give you major points with the girls.

JB: [laughs] Well, to be honest, I got girls before.

NL: [laughs] Confidence!

JB: But definitely a lot more girls are following me and stuff.

NL: I can imagine! How have your friends reacted to your success?

JB: My friends are so excited for me. They’ve been supportive since day one. I’m really thankful.

NL: And you had your best friend in the video for “One Time.”

JB: Yeah.

NL: What was it like shooting your first video?

JB: It was really different going from a video camera to a professional camera. It was really crazy, but it was an amazing experience.

NL: Usher was also on the set. What was it like having him there?

JB: Well, I mean, to be honest, a lot of people have been asking like, “It must be amazing to hang out with Usher,” but he’s just a regular cat like you and me, so it’s just like hanging out with anybody else. But it’s cool. It’s cool to have one of my inspirations on set.


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  1. I love Justin!
    I hope his album is a huge success! =)

  2. OH MY GOSH!!! Justin is such a great singer and i really hope everything works out PERFECTLY!
    i am such a HUGE fan and my myspace and facebook has tons of things on Justin. One Time is the absolute best song in the entire world. GOOD LUCK JUSTIN!

  3. OMG!!!!!
    im sooooooooo in LOVE with JUSTIN DREW BIEBER!!!!!
    hes soooooooooo awesomely amazing at singing!!!!!!!!!
    and hes deffentlly hhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwt!!!!!!! (hot)
    well antways ya i love JB!!!!

    ~briana BIEBER
    (i wish)

  4. I love Justin sooo much, he’s a really good singer and he is also extremely good looking!! lol
    I hope his album is great hit, im sure it will be…. i know i’ll be buying it!!!

    Megan x x x

  5. i love you justin

    i …. wush you are visit to the philippines
    …. i love you soooooouo much
    your szoo ,,, hot realy realy hot

  6. I luv Jusitn. im glad he started posting videos on youtube. he rlly does have an awesome voice. he diserves to be where he is today!!! <333333!!!!!!!!

  7. hey you are the coolest kid ever. i am your biggest fffffffffaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnn.

  8. my friend says your stupid. not he loves you to.what is your e-mail?

  9. Anonymous says:

    justin can youcame to my school novembere for an assembly for the bullying thing

  10. stephanie@com says:

    justin bieber love be friends

  11. ilove u you r so cute how old ru?

  12. sweet 18100231 gg

  13. hoy love

  14. justin lover #1 says:

    Justin i love u , u rock. ur album my world is awesome i cant wait till my world 2.0 comes out . i hope ur caree goes far and trust me i know it will. i wish u lots of LOVE , HUGS & KISSES Justin Lover #1

  15. hey justin…. i love ur music and think u r super talented… uu r super cute 2… luv ya..

  16. DYLETHAT says:

    justin you are very bless to have usher and poeple around you that love you very much, and usher keep doing a great job by helping other people with they dream. GOD BLESS YOU AND USHER LOVE YOU BOTH. GOOD USHER BABY.

  17. amber love says:

    heyyyyyy…… i am justin biggest fan BIGGEST FAN i luv ‘em so much he is just the best !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!and unlike most people i dont like him just for his looks he seems like a nice guy and he has great talent ..:)(justin u r soo lucky and i luv u soo much):))

  18. Anonymous says:

    juszin bieber

  19. Anonymous says:

    I LOVE Bieber! He is soooo awesome! If u love him as much as i do then please respond.

  20. Madison says:

    I love Justin so much i can hardlly breathe

  21. Jadelyn M says:




  22. hi justin bieber,really want you te come in brasil
    ìm your number one fan i live in white river-ac and my dream is to know
    you kisses!! (I LOVE YOU),not because you and the justin bieber but being
    sinpatico.bjs!!a boy! i hope on my birthday of 15 years.>march 13,2011 kisses!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Y LOVE YOU
    kisses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Y LOVE

  23. Just found the contact us form.. thanks

  24. oi justin eu fo sua fã eu queria te conheser mais eu não tenho comdisães te conheser kisskiss

  25. lindo justin bieber

  26. i love u justin bieber and im your biggest fan

  27. I think that JB is soooo adorable. Wish you all the success in the world. You are in great hands with Usher. Wish that you were on his OMG tour instead of Miguel. Maybe, he`ll ask you next time.

  28. ilove you

  29. justin bieber wilsdu mit mir gehen
    ich heise jennifer

  30. jorden usrey says:

    i dont get why so many people get so happy to meet justin bieber when he is just sombody like us he has red blood just like we do….. i like justin bieber cause he is a good singer and absluty adorable but i wouldent attack him just so i can get close to him and im a nobody but i do still know singers persnoly like ill hang out with them every once in a while and when i met them i dident as excited as lot of people do


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