Teenager or not, every one is going crazy about his India concert. Indian singers and actors (you know the names) have fought on Twitter to share stage with the teenage sensation. He is the biggest YouTube success story. A worldwide pop sensation. Grammy winner. Forbes magazine’s top 10 most powerful celebrities in the world. A Canadian resident with O-1 visa for temporary resident status in the US, based on extraordinary ability or achievement. And he is here… in India. To perform and promote his album Purpose, released in 2015 and described as: “a formal request for a pardon through music.”
I mean, I wanted to write about writing or movies or books, but when I stared researching, all I found was Bieber, everywhere. So I decided to write about him instead. It will be rather stupid to go on about books and writing, when everyone is grooving to the sound of As Long As You Love Me or Baby, Baby….Thought You Always Will be Mine…
So here is Bieber. And here I am, writing about the 23 year old, successful but troubled young man, who has been arrested on charges of vandalism to driving under the influence of liquor and drugs. Petitioned by 270,000 (which is a large number, not larger than his fan base though) Americans to Obama administration to get him deported out of America, which the government declined to do. And who despite it all, continues to rule the Billboard and hearts of millions of teenagers, across the world.
I personally don’t find much merit in his singing. Maybe my vision is limited and prejudiced by voices of Aretha Franklin, Adele, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Freddie Mercury, Elvis, Bruno Mars, Stevie Wonder, Steve Tyler, Josh Groban, Elton John and many more. Or maybe, I ain’t his target audience.
But can you ignore Justin Bieber? You’ll be a fool to do so. In times like this, when your success is measured by Facebook likes, Twitter-Instagram followers and YouTube views, which almost sums up what made Bieber, you gotta make room for Bieber and his swag.
And as a writer, I ought to soak it all in and then let my senses loose and write. Pop or popular culture, be it cinema, music or sports, always finds its way to the arts. Writing is no different. It reflects all of these and creates a world which is built from these elements. And from people who exist in our midst.
Hence, Justin Bieber. And his ilk. Because he represents stardom at a cost. Because he is what you get, when you grow up with cameras around you. With a mother, who records your songs and posts those amateur videos on You Tube, which gets “accidentally discovered” by the right person (Scooter Brawn).
Bieber is the epitome of digital fame. He is as Usher says, “an abrupt success.” An ideal case study of fame and its trappings in the complex times, we live in.
Will I be fetching it far if I say, Justin Bieber kind of sums up, everything that’s right and wrong with us…? If I do, will you say, What do you mean? You better make up your mind, what do you mean…?
Honestly, I can’t make up my mind and so I leave you with his top 20 hits. And y’all who got tickets to his Mumbai concert, I know you gonna groove to his tunes, when he brings the house down.