Four days later, Scooter Braun, Justin’s manager, is clutching his BlackBerry at the Four Seasons Hotel in Miami. Since returning from France, Bieber and his right-hand man have been in the studio with Timbaland, pulling all-nighters for Believe, the official follow-up to his multi-platinum 2009 debut, My World. That is, unless you count the subsequent releases, My World 2.0, My Worlds Acoustic, My Worlds the Collection, the soundtrack album Never Say Never: The Remixes, and most recently, the Christmas album Under the Mistletoe—the first record where Justin’s voice sounds noticeably deeper.
It pisses me off when people say, 'Get over it Justin. You're famous.'
Braun’s planning a major rollout for Believe, including a full-scale marketing blitz, but the most important piece of the puzzle is the music. He’s doing his best to help Bieber stay focused, despite the constant distractions. (The night before, there were roughly 600 girls outside the studio hoping for a glimpse of Justin; police had to come and disperse the thirsty crowd.) Lil Wayne’s been working in the same studio—and they’ve done some skateboarding together. Who knows? Maybe they’ll record together, too. But Scooter’s already got plenty of A-list collaborators lined up. “We’re talking to Benny Blanco, Bei Maejor, Mike Posner,” Braun says. “We’re going to work with Pharrell...and Bruno Mars. He’s going in with Drake and 40 next week.”
Making his name throwing parties at Atlanta’s Emory University, Scooter Braun went on to work under Jermaine Dupri before discovering Bieber on YouTube when he was just 13. Since then, Braun’s charted a path for the pop star that’s been flawless. Outsiders call Scooter Bieber’s mentor, but he likens the relationship to that of an uncle or a dad. “We made a commitment to each other when he was 13 to be there for each other no matter what,” Braun says. And “no matter what” means a lot these days as Justin shifts from teeny-bopper to young man. “I want him to start being on my level and one of my boys,” says Scooter. “I want to start treating him like a man. He’s pushing back a little bit more, but I think that’s natural.”
The typical growing pains of adolescence are different under the microscope of fame. Scooter recalls a conversation they had about drugs: “He called me and said ‘Do you know why I’m never going to do that stuff? Because I know you’d walk in and beat the shit out of me.’” Bieber says he’s never even smoked a cigarette in his life. Most of the “pushing back” has to do with wishing for a more ordinary life. “He doesn’t like being famous,” Braun explains. “He struggles with not being normal. I’m constantly telling him, ‘You’re not normal, and since you’re living an extraordinary life, I’m holding you to extraordinary standards.’”