Ralphie with Justin Bieber.
From the outset, Justin Bieber seems like your typical 15-year-old. He doodles on his own photos, cracks jokes with bandmates and will at times refuse to listen to anyone older than him. Getting ready to walk on stage at The Mall at Steamtown, he hops on his record label rep’s back, only to crash his head in to a door sill. Leaving the mall, in an attempt to retrieve his fallen hat, his ankle is stepped on by a fan, but of course, he tries not to let his staff, which laughs at him as he hobbles around, know that its bothering him.
But a quick look at what the Canadian-born heartthrob accomplished this past year, and “typical” will quickly become the furthest adjective from your mind.
Bieber performed last Thursday exclusively for 97 BHT listeners inside The Mall at Steamtown. Usher signed the teenage crooner to a deal after watching some of his YouTube videos — the most famous being Bieber’s cover of Chris Brown’s “With You.” But Usher wasn’t the only A-lister trying to court the 15-year-old.
“Well, what happened was, it was in Las Vegas. And it was Justin Timberlake in the red corner, it was Usher in the blue corner, and I’m pretty sure it was a technical knockout,” joked Bieber before he performed for almost 1,200 people inside the mall. I asked if Usher offered that much more than Timberlake, to which Bieber replied, “No, umm … it was a technical knockout.”
Now with the upcoming release of his debut LP, “My World,” Bieber sports an enthusiastic fanbase throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as two hits charted in the Top 30. Just a few weeks ago, he popped up on NBC’s “The Today Show,” and who could forget his cameo at the MTV Video Music Awards? Yes, the 15-year-old had the daunting task of introducing Taylor Swift’s performance immediately after Kanye West interrupted the starlet’s acceptance speech. Bieber witnessed the fiasco from the stage, and then went on to offer impromptu kudos to Swift on-air, before introducing her.
“I don’t think as a new artist, or anybody, really goes off topic of like, what they’re supposed to say on the teleprompter,” Bieber noted. “I kinda took a risk. … Having to introduce Taylor Swift on top of that was kinda scary, but I mean, she’s amazing. She’s a really nice girl, so I was honored to be able to introduce her.”
Bieber was also honored to take part in “Kidd Kraddick In The Morning’s” Band Camp. For a week straight, the singer joined the morning show to help a group of kids form a band. Bieber notes that he enjoyed the experience, but in typical 15-year-old fashion, he did have one complaint.
“The only crappy part was I had to wake up at like five in the morning, every single day,” Bieber said. He uses his iPhone as an alarm, and also as a way to connect with his fans. The same day he performed at the mall, uStream, a Web site that allows for live Web video chatting, sent Bieber an iPhone application that allows him to stream live video to the Web site.
“I just got it today,” Bieber said, still kind of taken aback that uStream would send him the app before it makes it available to the general public. “But like, it’s cool that I can uStream from my phone.”
Bieber will then send the uStream link out to his Twitter followers, all 300,000 plus.
“I don’t know why (I have that many followers),” he joked. “I’m not that cool.”