Sunday, February 13, 2011

Taking in Biebermania with the Princess Raspberry

Biebermania, Bieber-Fever...if you're the parent of a young girl chances are you've heard of Canada's newest and biggest singing sensation. Yesterday I went with my daughter (Princess Raspberry) to take in the Justin Bieber 3-D movie, 'Never Say Never'.

I had my opinions on this Stratford kid before going, many seeded by her older brother, my son Buddy. I knew of the youtube connection and assumed this Ontario teen was something of an overnight success...good looking, decent set of pipes, a couple little dance steps. He uploads a few songs onto the net and THEN BAM, he's a major recording artist.

My preconceived notions, it seems, could not have been more wrong.

One of my Dad's favourite bromides is that there are no overnight successes. That many major stars toil in obscurity for years before getting their big break. At just sixteen years of age one might be excused for thinking Bieber is an exception to this rule...but he isn't.

This is a bio-pic and it starts with videos of Justin at 2 or 3 years of age banging away on the drums, not long thereafter there's home videos of him playing the far too big for him. By 12 he's already busking on the streets of downtown Stratford, performing in a local Idol competition and placing second.

Justin Bieber was no overnight success, it just seems that way. He started working his way to stardom from the moment he stoped using diapers...maybe before.

Even after he'd been discovered record labels weren't convinced, apparently it took a youtube video with Usher to seal the deal and convince them he was marketable without a media machine like Disney backing him.

And still the kid kept working hard. Apparently radio stations weren't too keen on playing his music, so he started going all over North America to radio stations far and wide, guitar in hand. That certainly helped, but I think the hundreds of screaming girls outside of their stations helped more.

Being just 16 Justin has grown up with the internet and social media. I don't see it as some might, that he exploited social media like youtube to become a star. For today's youth, its just the way things are done.

Justin Bieber had tools at his disposal teen idols of previous generations didn't. Michael Jackson, Donny Osmond, Elvis Presley never had twitter to connect directly with their fans. When he was just getting started, going to a radio stations for interviews, he'd tweet it. He wasn't a big star, just a gnat in the music industry trying to make a name for himself, but he had die hard and loyal fans. Girls would descend on the radio station with their screams and their signs.

The stations didn't have to promote him, he could do it all by himself, with just a cell phone.

Needless to say, I enjoyed the movie...although Raspberry enjoyed it more. This was my first ever 3-D movie so that made it cool, and from what I hear its already number one at the box office.

Is Justin Bieber just a flash in the pan? Maybe, but I wouldn't bet against him being around for a long time. That's actually the whole theme behind the movie, and the reason its called 'Never Say Never'.

If your son or daughter told you they wanted to be a major pop star, one so famous they could sell out Madison Square Garden in less than half an hour...what would you say? I'm betting a lot of parents would say: "That's a nice dream but its not realistic".
Justin Bieber tells his fans to follow their dreams, that anything is possible, to Never Say Never.

Its a pretty good message for kids, and adults too.

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