The world of music has been rocked this week by news that one of its shining stars is retiring, at the tender age of 19. Yes, I am talking about Justin Bieber. While he may not be the most popular celebrity amongst the population over 12, no-one can argue that he hasn’t made an impact on music in these past few years. Well, maybe not music, but at least he has made a significant impact on media.
It is not hard to tell why the world is either indifferent to Justin’s retirement, or even somewhat angry. Most people love to hate the pop star: but what is the motivation behind this hatred and the scorn he faced constantly during his career? Is it jealousy? Surely there is some aspect of Justin’s success that annoys most people: he became entirely self-made and successful before most people even leave school. And now, while the majority of people struggle to save for their own retirement, Justin has reached his.
So how exactly did Justin Bieber become so successful? As a mark of modern times, Bieber is the product of the internet generation. He rose to fame thanks to YouTube videos. Like many child stars, he did not do it completely alone; he had the support of his parents. In particular, his mother, who uploaded the videos of the star singing, covers of songs as well as playing his own creations. He was eventually spotted on the start by a music mogul, after the videos reached popularity. Bieber is a self-taught musician on piano, guitar, drums and trumpet, and currently writes songs.
His story is not dissimilar to that of Adele’s. She too became famous thanks to YouTube, but the world seems to have a greater respect for Adele than anyone does for Justin Bieber. What is the possible cause of this difference? While Bieber was a child who was easily marketed and manipulated, Adele entered the music scene with a greater understanding of herself. She was much less easily moulded into the perfect pop star image. Adele also received a greater reception due to her powerful and commanding vocals. Her ballads earned her international fame and recognition, but she is on par with Bieber in terms of the amount of awards they each won for their music. The subject of each performer’s music is quite similar: both are constantly singing of relationships. To be perfectly honest, while this would seem standard fare for a young teenager, Adele is now an adult with a baby, and perhaps her range of interests should be somewhat extended. Although, in a market saturated with music about sex, relationships and partying, we can hardly expect modern artists to produce anything that comments on political or economic issues (though thankfully our youth are reminded of such things by the repeat Christmas classic “Do they Know it’s Christmas Time”.
While Justin Bieber’s retirement may just be a publicity stunt, many are hoping that the artist is taking a break and will come back reinvented. As is common with many child stars, they shed their image of a well-behaved little child and come back with a new look and an attitude to match. Just think of Miley Cyrus for the perfect example. While music is not likely to suffer in his absence, hopefully there are some new credible artists to fill the void in modern music. The most popular artists seem to just crave attention with crazy antics and publicity stunts, and the music is suffering. In the interim of losing one attention depraved child, at least we have Lady Gaga, Miley, and Rhi-Rhi to keep us entertained…