Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber has been singing for only four years, but it has been time well spent. The 16-year-old pop sensation has quickly gone from busking on the streets of his native Ontario, acoustic guitar in tow, to ruling the Billboard charts. Bieber was discovered in 2007 by former So So Def Recordings exec Scooter Braun, who scooped the singer up off the strength of a series of YouTube videos featuring the helium-voiced crooner's interpretations of hits by R&B songsmiths such as Alicia Keys and Justin Timberlake. Braun flew Bieber and his mother down to Atlanta to shop him around the city's fertile hip-hop scene, eventually scoring a lucrative deal with Island/Def Jam records. Under the tutelage of Atlanta child star turned R&B juggernaut Usher, Bieber got to work on the My World EP, a half-hour set of sprightly R&B pop fare featuring songwriting and production from Usher, The-Dream, Christopher "Tricky" Stewart, and others.

Powered by Bieber's squeaky-clean image, mop-topped mug, elastic singing voice, and crack songwriting team, My World took young America by storm, leaving behind a trail of hit singles and swooning preteens. My World 2.0, Bieber's debut full-length, soon followed, expanding the cast of the EP to include the talents of Christina Milian, Bryan-Michael Cox, up-and-coming Canadian production duo the Messengers, and Bieber himself. Boosted by the 808-laced, Ludacris-assisted "Baby," My World 2.0 debuted at the top of the U.S. Billboard charts, where it rubbed elbows with Usher's Raymond v. Raymond. The torch had clearly been passed. The singer's devoted fanbase is unstoppable, keeping him in Twitter's Trending Topics on a daily basis, flooding his personal appearances to the point of near collapse, and buying his albums by the hundreds of thousands. The Bieber nation is millions strong and growing. ~Craig Jenkins


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