When you think of Justin Bieber, you probably think troubled teen, spoiled brat, follower, and a host of other negative things to say. Well, say no more, because it seems as though the day has come when JB has grown into a young man, putting all of his rebellious ways behind him.
Justin covers the October/November issue of Complex Magazine, and in a sit-down interview, the Beib reflects on all of the trouble he’s gotten into and expresses where those choices have gotten him today.
I’ve always loved Justin for the music, which has more important me. I read this super good interview from beginning to end, maybe even twice, and I am super proud of the mature man he’s becoming. Below are a few excerpts from the interview, plus BTS footage; Read up on how Justin talks about being targeted because of his crew, his views on God, and what love really means.
Complex: Do you think being around people like Floyd Mayweather makes you an easy target?
Justin Bieber: With Floyd, he’s just an image. I think he may not do the best job at being humble, but that’s not his job. I mean, it’s good to see people that are just humble and cool and down-to-earth and chill, but he’s trying to get pay-per-view numbers. He’s saying wild stuff just for attention. When people can just stop being stupid—sorry to say that—but when people can stop reading into it so much and just look at the fact that he’s doing this for entertainment….
He’s in a one-man sport. I’m in a one-man thing, too, but I have so many people that help me do this. Also, you go through a point where—I don’t know if he’s gotten this or not—but for me I went through a point of doing it for myself and doing everything in the industry for myself and I was unhappy because being able to do stuff for others is the biggest gift of all. I was robbing myself by not enjoying the moments where I should’ve been enjoying them and doing stuff for other people.
I forgot what I was about, what my mom raised me to be. I veered off, and I got tainted. I came into the music industry at 13. I was trying to trust people and they’d break my heart at 15. You have your perceptions of people. There are awesome people who are the lovely, amazing, joyful kind. But I only saw people who are shitty and were taking advantage of me. When you have that perspective, the way you act changes. I was basically like, Fuck everybody. Then I started doing my own thing. I got into a little bit of trouble—nothing that other 20-year-olds don’t get into—just rebelling a little bit. Now, being 21, I’m coming into my own and around some pretty cool people who are not afraid to tell me what’s real.
C: Last year you said you got cockier. Were there times when you felt invincible?
JB: For sure.
C: How so?
JB: I was doing anything. I was doing so many things that I shouldn’t even be on the planet still. I think that it was by the grace of God. The whole time, [Bieber’s manager] Scooter [Braun] always made sure I was safe and made sure situations didn’t escalate. He’d fix every situation. It almost wasn’t good, because I’d be like, any time I wanna do something, Scooter is gonna take care of it. It backfired a few times. It’s been a cool journey, an awesome learning experience. I wouldn’t take back anything. I wouldn’t do anything over again. I would do it all the same way. I’m not going to say I’m sorry for the things that I’ve done because I think that it allows me to tell a story. If I would’ve came into the industry at a young age and never had any failures, people would’ve been like, Who is this kid? He’s not relatable. Now, I went through my shit, I came out on the other side, and I’m going to show you it gets better.
C: At this stage in your career, is it tough to be both politically correct and unapologetic about how you really feel? In the deposition, I could see why people would say you were being a brat. But there are a lot of people who thought it was funny. Do you struggle with the balance?
JB: I’ve learned to counter balance. I don’t have to be a super proper, stiff guy. I can still have fun with stuff. Sometimes it might look like I’m being a little arrogant; sometimes I’m playing around and having fun. I think the deposition was a little too much. I’m trying to encourage people, and I don’t think that that’s the right attitude to have. I was also frustrated. I was in a weird place. It was annoying. I just felt like I didn’t owe the guy anything. I was just going to mess with every question he had. I got him, too. He was so frustrated. An hour of him just being like, I don’t know what to do or say.
C: Of all the criticism you got, do you think any of it was petty, or unfair?
JB: Honestly, I think the pissing in the bucket wasn’t as big as people made it seem. Just because, dude, think about it. Imagine, you hear that fucking Ozzy Osbourne pisses backstage. Immediately, “Oh, he’s a freaking rock star!” As soon as I do it, “He’s being a brat.” Dude, what is bratty about pissing in a bucket? I had to go piss—we all have to pee. The bathroom was like on the other side, and the dude in the club was like, “Just pee here.” He told me I could and it wasn’t like I was being disrespectful. I feel like that was pretty ostracizing—bigger than it should’ve been.
C: Did you have to cut a lot of people off recently?
JB: Yeah, and it’s not even their fault. It wasn’t like I was cutting them off like, this person’s toxic. I could be around that person and not do that stuff because the stuff I do is not who I am. What I really want people to see in this next chapter is not Justin Bieber the artist. I want people to start seeing me and feel like they can connect with me. I’ve made myself so unrelatable the past year with all the stuff that I was doing. Not even bad stuff sometimes, just outrageous stuff. Like, you got a monkey, what are you doing?
JB: I could say it over and over again, I’m changing and doing this with my life, but unless they start seeing something tangible like, “Oh he’s helping this person; he would’ve never said something like this a year ago; he would’ve never taken responsibility for something like that a year ago, but now he’s actually being a man about it and understanding commitment, understanding the value of time, understanding the value of people….” When you get famous, you get people that will encourage whatever you do. You’ll do something and they’ll be like, “That was dope, Justin!” When you’re young especially, you don’t know who’s bullshitting you. I’m gonna make sure that I don’t have people around me who make me look like an idiot. You don’t understand—that’s a normal thing for human beings, but I never had that in my life. I didn’t even have that with my parents. I think they just didn’t know how. We never built the right relationships. Now I’m having real relationships where it’s two ways. I didn’t understand how that works because the way people would interact with me was always so weird and it was never completely 100 percent genuine.
C: You also fell in love at an early age.
C: What did you learn from it?
JB: Don’t fall in love. No, I’m just kidding. I learned a lot. I moved in with my girlfriend when I was 18. Started my own life with her. It was a marriage kind of thing. Living with a girl, it was just too much at that age. But we were so in love. Nothing else mattered. We were all about each other. But when it’s like that and you get your value from that, people will always disappoint you. Your girl or your dude, they’re always going to disappoint you. Your full identity can’t be in that person. My identity was in her. Her identity was in me. When stuff would happen, I would lose my freakin’ mind, and she would lose her mind, and we would fight so hard because we were so invested in each other. Love is a choice. Love is not a feeling. People have made it seem in movies that it’s this fairy tale. That’s not what love is. You’re not gonna want to love your girl sometimes but you’re gonna choose to love her. That’s something in life that I had to figure out. I can’t lean on people. I got to lean on God. I gotta trust in him through all my situations. Then, hopefully, my other relationships will flourish around me. But if I’m gonna be so invested in you, if you die, or something happens to you, I’m gonna be so destroyed, I won’t be able to go on. If I can love you and know that I’m not who I am because you’re being nice to me, but that I love you and I think you’re an incredible person but you’re just as broken as I am on the inside. We’re all just trying to figure it out.
Here’s behind the scenes footage of Justin’s Complex shoot:
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