By now we’re guessing you’ve read our 10th Anniversary Cover Story with the young king Justin Bieber and in the profile, you probably noticed JayBee’s manager Scooter Braun dropping some gems about the star.
Braun got his start by putting together parties while he was attending ATL’s Emory University, and then landed a job under Jermaine Dupri. Eventually he’d become a staple in Atlanta’s nightlife and music scene—and he was sharpening his eye for talent all the while.
Today, in addition to Bieber, he has a roster of hit-makers on his label “Schoolboy Records” that includes Asher Roth and Carly Rae Jepsen (who scored a Top 40 hit with “Call Me Maybe”). He’s also managing boy-band-of-the-moment The Wanted, which currently holds the No. 3 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for their song “Glad You Came.” Yup, dude is already mogul status at 30 years old.
Braun discovered Bieber when he was 13, by scouring YouTube and gaining the trust of Bieber and his mother when no one else knew the pint-sized young’n from Stratford, Canada was. During our interview in Justin’s suite at the Four Seasons, Braun spoke candidly about everything from his aspirations for JayBee’s next career phase, to the fears he has as Justin matures—he even dispelled rumors of an alleged “swag coach” on the Bieb team. Oh, and mid-interview Justin pops up for some funny back-and-forth-banter. Read the full interview below...
Interview by Joe La Puma (@JLaPuma)
Complex: How would you describe your bond with Justin?
Scooter Braun: We have a very different bond. The common misconception—because I’m 13 years older than him—is that it’s a little brother. It’s more like an uncle or a dad. I kind of realized it being on the road with Justin’s mom. She’s not a disciplinarian, and he needed that person in his life.
I fully expected him to make mistakes. We all did. At the same time, the struggle we’ve had is that he doesn’t like being famous.
At times, he’s gotten mad, like, “You’re not being my friend. You’re not being fun.” And I told him, “I’m not here to be your friend. I’m here to be that man in your life who tells you right from wrong, whether you disagree with me or not. And I’m not always right, but I’m going to try and do the best job I can.”
As he gets older there is a shift happening, that I’m actually wanting. I just want him to go about it in the right way. I don’t want to have to be the father/uncle figure all the time. I want him to start being on my level and one of my boys, and I want to start treating him like a man. I have that relationship with my pops and my uncle now. So I think he’s transitioning to that place.
We’re talking about things differently. He’s pushing back a little bit more, but I think that’s natural. Everything my family taught me, I found myself repeating those lessons to him, and my goal... And let’s not take away that he has his own father.
I’m with him a lot, and me and his dad have come to terms with that and developed a friendship. I find that, with all these seeds that I’ve planted over the years, I get very proud when I hear him say things that were those seeds that you plant and hope he turns into that man.
I’m proud of him. He’s a really good kid, and he’s headed in the right direction. I fully expected him to make mistakes. We all did. At the same time, the struggle we’ve had is that he doesn’t like being famous.
He struggles with not being normal. He really wants to be normal, and I’m constantly telling him, “You’re not normal, and since you’re living an extraordinary life, I’m going to hold you to extraordinary standards.” That was my pop’s thing. My father did that to me, and I feel like I’ve grown to be a successful adult because I always pushed myself beyond expectations.
Maybe people don’t agree with that, but I feel like, if he’s trying to do something no one’s ever done before, then he needs to be pushed to that place. And when he doesn’t think he can make it, I’ve got to help him realize he can.
Many artists have told me that they would rather be themselves, not famous.
SB: Like Asher?
Asher hasn’t told me that, but other artists definitely have. I’m sure a lot of people feel that way, especially when they’re famous. And none of them that I’ve mentioned are famous to the extent that Justin is. I was just thinking he has a lot of years left. Like, it just started.
SB: I appreciate you saying that, because a lot of people—before they see him, before they hear the music, before they look at everything—just assume, based on 50 years of pop history and the majority of them being failures, that he’s just going to come and go. Everyone—and this is the thing that pleases me—that’s taken a real look, realizes that this kid isn’t going anywhere.
Yeah. I don’t see that. I see him maturing.
SB: Em got signed at, like, 27.
Exactly. He’s 18. He has potentially 20 or 30 more years of this. What does that mean to you, and have you thought about that? I’m sure you’ve thought about it, but does that conversation ever happen?
SB: We have it all the time. Whenever he’s starting to go into a place where I think he’s forgetting that someone’s told him that, because he started so young and started so early, he’s one of the few people on the planet that has the chance to have a career the length of Michael Jackson’s and grow up in front of the whole world with his music.
I think he understands that not only is that a burden, but it’s also a blessing. And he doesn’t want to blow it. We had a talk one time when he was having a really tough time with the fans and not being able to go outside.
He was really struggling with it. He didn’t know if he could handle it anymore. He was like, “I want to make music. I want to sing onstage, but I just don’t know if I can handle this.” We had a long talk about it, and he said to me, “If I can’t strive to be the best, then it’s not worth it.”
And he’s competitive too.
SB: Extremely. He’s an athlete.
Yeah. He and I, in France we were talking about boxing and stuff.
SB: The kid was a hockey player, basketball player, soccer player, and he didn’t tell anyone he could sing. He was known as an athlete when I found him, and you can see that in him. I grew up an athlete. You can see it in him.
He broke his foot, and everyone else would cancel their shows. He’s got to dance, and he did 14 shows with a cast on his leg and sold out all the shows. People have forgotten that the first time he rocked Madison Square Garden and JingleBall, remember JingleBall when everyone went nuts? He did the whole show with a broken foot and a cast on his leg. He really pushes himself.
He wants it more than anyone I’ve ever seen. I mean, he has his moments, as a teenager, when he slips a little bit. But nothing gets him on the ball like competition. He loves it. At the same time, he’s competitive with himself and with legends.
Stevie Wonder is the only artist that hit it this big as a solo artist this young. Stevie Wonder was in R&B within the United States. Justin became a worldwide phenomenon as a solo artist so young. That’s why, in a time when there’s camera phones, there’s Twitter, there’s Facebook, no one’s ever experienced the kind of pressure that he has.
He’s competitive with Michael. He looks at the other groups in his space, and he doesn’t look at them necessarily as non-competition, but he looks at them as part of the team. We talk about it. He’s like, “All these other groups, if they help music sell, I’m going to do well.”
So pretty much, music should be collaborative. Then, when he looks at who’s setting the bar and what he should chase, we only talk about Michael Jackson. We talk about Michael Jackson probably, if not every day, every other day.
That’s a great person to strive for.
SB: And we’re not saying he’s going to be Michael Jackson, we’re just saying that if you’re going to look at anyone who did it right, the man did it right.
Yeah. The thing that is different from him and Timberlake and even Michael Jackson, is that they got to grow up in a group. He has to do that alone.
SB: We talk about this all the time. Stevie Wonder is the only artist that hit it this big as a solo artist this young. Stevie Wonder was in R&B within the United States. Justin became a worldwide phenomenon as a solo artist so young.
That’s why, in a time when there’s camera phones, there’s Twitter, there’s Facebook, no one’s ever experienced the kind of pressure that he has. And I think he’s carrying himself well. He talks to fans every day, and they encourage him. They kind of keep him up.
Even with Timberlake, he had Chasez to be like, “Yo, we’re going to grow up...” The other members of the group were relevant, but I look at JT, and JC kind of said, “We’re going to ease into growing up.” He doesn’t have that, and it’s more challenging, I’m guessing.
SB: No. He turns to us for help, but it’s tough. You’re a 17-year-old kid trying to figure out what a 17-year-old kid is supposed to be, because you’re out there on your own. And the world’s looking at you to see what a 17-year-old kid should be.
I admire him for how he carries himself, through puberty, through emotions. It’s not easy. I’ve got to say this carefully, so that people don’t take this the wrong way. He didn’t grow up with a cookie-cutter, easy lifestyle.
He hit it big early, and he’s living an extraordinary life. But part of the reason I think he’s able to handle it, is because he knows struggle at a very young age. He comes from a place where he never thought, never even dreamed of leaving Stratford.
What kind of struggle are you referring to?
SB: His parents were very young. They were growing up while he was growing up. Then, you add in the fact that they don’t have a lot of money, you add in the fact that no one in his family had ever left Stratford, the fact that his mother had him at 17, and she’s been open about the fact that she struggled with drugs and alcohol as a young woman, and Justin kind of saved her life.
His dad has been open about the fact that, as a young man, he had his struggles. Justin’s growing up seeing this, hearing this. He’s in a small town, where people talk. Did you see on Ellen, where he went back to that school in Vegas?
I know what it’s like to feel like you don’t have a shot, and you’re not made to be anything special, and that you have to live your life as best you can right now, because there is no tomorrow.
No, I missed that, what happened?
SB: Well, what he said there—and they didn’t air it, but it had us all crying—was, “I’ve never admitted this publicly anywhere. I need you kids to hear something, so you know that you can make it. I used to steal clothes from the lost and found, because I didn’t have clothes. I used to tell my friends, ‘Look at this cool stuff,’ but the truth was I was stealing kids’ clothes and saying they’re mine. I never admitted that I was embarrassed that I’d have to wear the same clothes, and I didn’t want to. So I know what it’s like to feel like you don’t have a shot, and you’re not made to be anything special, and that you have to live your life as best you can right now, because there is no tomorrow.”
It was really moving. There were parents in the room that were really hysterical, because they came from a tough upbringing too.
No one really knows about that.
SB: No. I feel like the struggles that he went through isn’t for this interview. I think at the appropriate time, as an adult, he’ll talk about this stuff. He also had a good life. He had love. His grandparents are amazing people, too. His parents love him, and so he had this good balance. Because it was his every day, he wasn’t super aware that he wasn’t well-off.
He’s a very special kid, and my hope is that we’ve been very protective of him. The next phase is not only transition into adulthood, but just like a normal 18-year-old, he’s going to start branching out on his own, and I hope that he surrounds himself with the right group of people, that have his best interests in mind. Otherwise, I’m going to kill them. Not him, them. And then, I’m going to kill him, too. [Laughs.]
Had you never discovered Justin, do you think that he’d be discovered by now?
SB: Not going answer that. Maybe he’d be discovered, it just would have been a different path. I will answer this; I cannot take credit for Justin Bieber. Justin Bieber is Justin Bieber.
I think I’ve done a good job. I think we both feel like we were made to meet each other, and we’re a great team. But he is what he is, because of who he is.
When did you guys decide that it’s time to start appealing to an older crowd?
SB: That was from day one. We had Ludacris on “Baby.” We’ve had Kanye West and Raekwon. My philosophy with him was Michael Jackson. It was, have a young kid with an angelic voice singing great records about love. And everyone told me, “You can’t have him sing these records. What does he know about love?”
My philosophy was that when Michael sang those songs and when Justin sang those songs, it brought you to a time when you believed in love and you weren’t so fucking jaded. I think that’s why it translated, because no one had done it since the Jackson 5. And I think it kind of broke through.
As he gets older it’ll be more OK for older women to be into him. I think for them it’s like a dirty little secret to like Justin Bieber.
Then, he had songs like “Down To Earth,” which was about his parents’ separation, and the reaction to that song was incredible, because so many kids could relate to it, because they weren’t living cookie-cutter lives.
I try to tell him all the time, because kids grow up so fast today, don’t be in such a rush. The one thing about Michael Jackson was that he never lost the kids, he just kept them and gained the adults.
How do you plan to gain the older audience?
SB: Let him grow. Honestly, there’s no science to it. You said it, he’s a much cooler 17-year-old than you were, and than I was. I think all he needs to do is be himself and people will naturally...Just like people related to his records when he was singing puppy love. I say, now he’s in that “U Make Me Wanna” stage.
All he needs to do is what’s real to him, and people will relate, because everyone went through these stages. As adults, we all think about our high school sweetheart. We all think about that transition place when you started living young manhood.
He’ll represent that. And when the time’s appropriate for him to be 25, he’ll represent what 25-year-olds think about. I don’t think there’s anything that needs to be done. I think people try to do things.
The one thing I just tell him all the time is, don’t be in such a rush to appease the adult audience and try to be a grown up. Just be 17. Just be 18, and people will relate to that. I think what’s shocking is how much of an adult audience he has from the first album, and they could relate to him being honest about that stage in his life, and I think it’ll continue to grow.
What I do think will happen is that, as he gets older it’ll be more OK for older women to be into him. I think for them it’s like a dirty little secret to like Justin Bieber. It used to be a dirty little secret for me to be like, “I like Timberlake,” back in the day.
People forget that, after the Jacksons, people thought Michael Jackson was a wrap. They thought he was corny, and then he came with Off The Wall. So I don’t think there’s a science to it. I just think he doesn’t need to be in a rush to grow up, and he needs to just do him.
Do you think—and I’ll ask him this question too—when he’s rapping on “Boyfriend” and doing the “Burr” Gucci Mane ad-lib, that it might go over his younger fans’ heads?
SB: No. You know what doesn’t go over their heads? Him. He brings that audience to that. Your audience will respect that he’s able to give that shout out, and his audience will just respect that he’s making music. But this isn’t the first time that’s happened.
Michael’s melodies were a lot of plays on other people’s melodies. A lot of dance moves today are plays off of other people. I think that’s appreciation for other music, and certain people will catch it and other people won’t.
It’s like when you’re listening to a rapper. A rapper may make a clever phrase that Bob Dylan might have said, and if you’re a Bob Dylan fan, you’ll catch it. If you’re a Rat Pack fan, you’ll catch that he’s referencing Frank Sinatra, and other people might not catch it. So it’s just the lyrics.
Does the artist care that much that they catch it?
SB: It depends on the artist. When I went through, it’s funny, it was “I Love College,” Rivers Cuomo did not want us to sample that song. We had to go in and change the interpolation of that song and get rid of it.
Then, he met Asher later on and saw what Asher was about, and he took it as a huge compliment and was like, “No issue.” That’s why I said, I hope I don’t have to deal with it [Laughs]. At the end of the day, I think you’ve got to let someone do their art, and then you have to have people around them if it’s good enough.
Right. For me, I think it’s dope that he’s savvy to all these rappers.
SB: But that’s what I’m saying. Now, he’s getting you. He already has them. It goes right back to what I’m saying about Michael Jackson: keep the kids, grow the audience.
In the movie, you said that you met with Timberlake. What was it like meeting with him?
SB: It was great.
Justin Bieber: Dope guy.
Do you guys stay in touch?
SB: I’ve seen him from time to time. We’ve talked to a couple people in his camp about possibly writing with him. He’s doing movies, but they were like, “He’d totally be open to it.” It wasn’t a Timberlake-Usher choice, really. It just came down to the business of it. And I also felt like, with their names both being Justin, I want... With Usher, he could stand on his own a little bit more.
Yeah. That’s actually good, the Justin thing.
JB: Little Justin, big Justin.
Yeah, “The Justins” or something like that.
SB: Exactly. So he could stand on his own a little bit more, and it really just came down to a business thing. It wasn’t a dig at him. In fact, originally, we really thought we were going with him to be the partner. It’s not something we talk about a lot, because if people take it the wrong way, it’s awkward. Timberlake’s a competitive dude, too. It really had nothing to do with him.
We’re in development with Mark Wahlberg for a movie. Part of our philosophy with him was, at one point in this transition, we can use film. Visuals are so incredibly powerful, and to be able to have him do some really gritty adult roles, like teenager, but that teenager that’s really had issues.
At the time, the people running his business doubted me, to be honest. They didn’t even doubt him. They didn’t know what he would become, but I was a really young guy, and Justin and his mother were kind enough to take a chance on me, and these people looked at me as a really young guy.
Usher had already worked with me and felt completely comfortable letting me do my thing with Justin and letting us go out and chase this thing together. Usher’s been the perfect partner, and we not only have high praise for Justin, but we talk about his career all the time as an example of how to do it right, as well.
Are there plans for Justin to do any acting?
SB: We’re reading scripts. We’re in development with Mark Wahlberg for a movie. Part of our philosophy with him was, at one point in this transition, we can use film. Visuals are so incredibly powerful, and to be able to have him do some really gritty adult roles, like teenager, but that teenager that’s really had issues, and allowing people to really see him through an adult light through playing a character, I think it’ll make the transition into adulthood easier for them to understand.
So last night, I got my journalist hat on and tried to figure out where the studio was, because there was apparently 200 girls outside of it.
JB: Yeah. You missed it. Did you figure it out?
Nah, I couldn’t figure it out.
SB: It was 600.
Oh, really? What happened?
SB: There was 600 girls outside. It was on the news, and the cops had to come shut it down.
JB: So many kids. I couldn’t even go out there.
Yeah. I was like, “Maybe I should go,” but I just couldn’t figure it out.
JB: We still got it [Laughs].
Does it ever get too much?
SB: [Laughs.] That’s the funny thing. He loves these kids. He doesn’t care what anyone has to say, except those kids. We talk all the time and...
JB: Look, I could care less what anyone really thinks about me, but my fans... Like, the other day, like with the whole video stuff.
SB: There was a video where he got surrounded by paparazzi, and he sprinted and didn’t see those kids. And he called me. No one knew about the video, but some fans were tweeting about it, and he got really upset.
JB: But it wasn’t a big video. It wasn’t anywhere. Like, it wasn’t on FOX or anything.
SB: I think the hard part about that—and he’s really good about it—is that sometimes it’s never enough. He could do the most amazing things for the fans for seven days straight, but then he’ll take one day for himself and they’re like, “He’s changing.” But the positives outweigh the negatives by so much that the paparazzi, and people always wanting something, and everything else—that’s just part of the job. You can’t complain about it, because at the same time, he’s not in Stratford anymore.
JB: But I was just running, because I was playing a joke. The cameramen were waiting for me to come out of the car. They thought it was going to be a minute, so they had their cameras down and stuff. So I knew that right when they put their cameras down, I was sprinting. I sprinted right by them, and they didn’t get any shots of me, because the cameras were all down. And I didn’t see the girls there, and it made me look awful.
SB: The direct connection he has with the kids is pretty unique. He can move the needle on a lot of different things, but he’s lived his whole life in front of them since he was 12, and he never holds back. He has his moments when he wants his privacy, but—for the most part—he really doesn’t care. We were in Australia one time. One of his big Twitter groups, JBSource, was there.
JB: That was dope.
SB: And he told me, “She’s writing me. She wants to do an interview. We should do the interview.” So we canceled some big interviews to make time for this 15-year-old girl.
That’s dope. Like, a fan-site almost?
SB: And that one got more traction with our fans than any of the big press we did. So our philosophy is always to take time for them before anyone else. The honest truth is, if you wrote the worst article about Justin Bieber, that would piss us off, but if one of his fan-sites wrote something bad about him, he’d be really upset. He’d get over what you write.
JB: Because at the end of the day, my fans could be like, “No, that’s not true.” But if my fans write that...
SB: He’s never, ever bothered, unless they feel something. In fact, one of his favorite things to do is look up people dissing him and then call me with the best jokes. [To JB] I don’t even think you remember this, one time he calls me like, “Guess what. My balls are the size of tic-tacs.” Then he goes, “At least they smell good.” [Laughs.] He called me another time, and he goes, “Did you know I take helium to make sure I can sing high?” Or stuff like, “I take drugs to make me stay young.” He reads this stuff and thinks it’s funny.
JB: I’m actually a 40-year-old man in disguise, so I can get all these teen fans. [Laughs.]
Just to get back to the fan-base expanding, at Complex I cover style a lot, and in France, one thing I noticed is that he has the MCM TI$A Perfecto jacket on. As he gets more stylish, do you think these 17 and 18-year-old dudes are going to start following him?
SB: I think he just needs to be him. I always tell him, “Realize the brand you are, and you don’t need to wear a brand.”
JB: He’s always telling me to pull my damn pants up.
SB: When you and I were his age, we wore our pants just as low. Then, one day we woke up and said, “We look like idiots,” and we pulled our pants up.
T.I. met him before he was a star, Ludacris, all of them. Everybody in Atlanta knew Justin as Scooter’s little dude. He was always with me. That was my little guy. So he grew up around hip-hop, and he already had a natural love for hip-hop.
Do you still have that swag coach?
SB: We never had a swag coach.
Really? I thought I read that in the Times.
SB: [Laughs.] Ryan Good likes the word “swag,” and Ryan was his road manager, and we couldn’t really afford a stylist. So Ryan was helping out with style and everything else, and he used to joke around like, “When I first met you, Justin, you were dressing...” Ryan is like, 26 and wears his pants down to here.
So I blame Ryan for why he wears his pants so low. And I’m like, “Ryan, you need to grow up and pull your pants up.” He’s the only dude I know at that age wearing his pants that low [Laughs]. So Ryan was helping out, and then Justin, in an interview one time, as a joke, was like, “Ryan, over there, that’s my swag coach.” Just kind of clowning, like that’s his boy. In the articles, everyone ran with the swag coach thing. We don’t mind. We think it’s funny. We tell Ryan he’s the swag coach of the world [Laughs].
JB: Yeah, it was just a joke. It’s not really true.
SB: He’s one of our boys.
Talk about how hip-hop savvy Justin is.
SB: Ask him to do 2Pac for you, right now.
He did it for me backstage. That’s what I’m saying. Everybody from 2Pac to Nicki Minaj, he’s up on. I’m sure he’s up on every young rapper too. Where does that come from?
SB: I think his dad was a big 2Pac fan. He got that from his dad.
JB: My mom liked rap music, too.
JB: Yeah. She just didn’t listen to 2Pac and stuff. She liked Ma$e.
SB: So he’s got young parents, and they’ve grown up in the hip-hop generation. Then, he comes down to Atlanta, Georgia, and I’m the white-boy of hip-hop. I’m the guy who started out with street dudes in Atlanta, and then broke a kid who wore flip-flops and never had a mixtape, and everybody thought I was crazy.
Then, while I’m breaking Asher, Justin’s at Asher’s house everyday, rapping on Cannon. And Cannon’s coming over every day, and Justin’s 13 or 14, hanging out. He was like, the little kid. He was the kid that would always hang out with us. Like, there’s video of me and Asher out to dinner with Ludacris, when Asher was first starting, and if you look in the corner, Justin’s there.
So when he started to blow up... T.I. met him before he was a star, Ludacris, all of them. Everybody in Atlanta knew Justin as Scooter’s little dude. He was always with me. That was my little guy. So he grew up around hip-hop, and he already had a natural love for hip-hop.
If someone asks me, 'Are you a marketing genius?' I’m like, 'No.' But if someone says I’m a marketing genius, they say it. If someone says he’s the king of pop... If anything, there’s only one King of Pop. If he could be the prince of pop, that would be dope.
And personally, I think it has to do with the fact that his first instrument is drums. Hip-hop is very drum-heavy, and I think he gravitated to the tracks because of the percussion.
He recently spoke at the Michael Jackson tribute... Do you think he could be this generation’s King of Pop?
SB: I don’t think you ever say that. Like, if someone asks me, “Are you a marketing genius?” I’m like, “No.” But if someone says I’m a marketing genius, they say it. If someone says he’s the king of pop... If anything, there’s only one King of Pop. If he could be the prince of pop, that would be dope. I don’t think it’s his place to say.
I think his career needs to speak for itself, and I think he needs to do it. I do think it’s awesome that he’s Canadian, because I just realized Canada is a province of the United Kingdom. So the Queen of England is the queen. So technically, if he has an amazing career, he can be knighted. He can be Knight Bieber or Sir Bieber.
Sir Justin Bieber [Laughs].
SB: How awesome would that be? Now, it took The Beatles like 30 years to get that, so we’ve got a long way to go, but the fact that he has that opportunity and we don’t—it’s pretty fucking cool.
I was doing Google images searches, and I saw you guys with your girlfriends. Are you excited about double-dating with him? I know you guys probably can’t go to clubs, but...
SB: Here’s what I’ll say to you. One—I won’t answer the question, because I respect not only him, but me as well. Our personal lives, when it comes to that, relationships, everything else, is off limits. You can’t have a relationship if you’re sharing it with the world.
So am I looking forward to an age where we can go out together? Yeah, but for a completely different reason than he is. My reason is, I’ve had to play this dad/uncle role for so long, that he has no idea how cool I am [Laughs]. So when we finally get to go out, he’s going to be really shocked. He just thinks that I’m a lame [Laughs].
JB: You are lame! Like hell! [Laughs].
SB: [Laughs] See? Because I’m always having to shoot him down and keep him out of trouble. But when he gets older, and he goes out, and he realizes that the people he thinks are cool ask me where I’m going, then it’s going to be a different situation.
Right, but can it flip also? That he’s cooler than...
SB: Oh, but I tell him I think he’s lame all the time, too. I’m like, “Yo, you’re young and you’re corny. Pull your pants up.” Here’s the thing. It’s really a family relationship. We love each other. We’ll tell each other when we’re cool, and we’ll tell each other when we think the other person’s lame. I think the best part about me and him is that I don’t consider myself... I think title-wise, I’m his manager. I don’t really consider myself his manager.
Many times—I’m not speaking about all managers—they want to tell them what they want to hear, keep the business going, keep the train moving. And his integrity and him growing up to be the right kind of man is so much more important to me. So I consider him family.
My goal is to help him become a good man, because his talent is endless. I feel like if he’s a good enough man to handle the responsibility of the gift that he’s given, then he will be successful. If he tries too hard to be cool, or if he grows up into a douchebag, then it’s all going to disappear.