The stuff you never thought to ask – we totally went there.
As soon as we heard the first play of Justin Bieber’s comeback single Boyfriend earlier this year, we knew he was a changed boy. Or should we say, man. After an eventful year in which he bagged a hot, older girlfriend (hi, Selena Gomez), had a fan accuse him of fathering her child (hi, Mariah Yeater) and propelled his protégé into the spotlight (hi, Carly Rae Jepson), he’s grown up. A lot.
But when we arrive at a London hotel for our interview, we see his fans haven’t changed – they’re as loyal as ever, waiting outside the hotel, hoping to catch even a glimpse of their idol. We squeeze past them and make our way up to Justin’s suite, barely getting past the over-cautious security standing outside his room. Once we finally convince them that we’re not a fan posing as a journalist, we walk into the room where Justin’s lounging on a sofa, doodling away on a notepad. He’s wearing jeans, black jacket with a black tee underneath and red (not purple!) trainers. He gets up to greet us and we settle down next to him, but before we can start grilling him on everything (except Selena – we’ve been warned strictly no questions on relationships), he turns and asks, “It is OK if I draw while we talk?” Um… sure!
Welcome to the UK, Justin! We heard your English accent the other day at your album playback… it’s not that good, is it?
[Does something that sounds Scottish] “It’s not bad… right? Why do you think it’s so terrible? I mean, you’re English so you can tell if it’s rubbish so… it’s not bad? right? It’s probably better… beh-er or better?”
It depends on where you come from.
”Beh-er. Beh-er. It’s beh-er than most people’s English accents.”
Even if the accent didn’t impress us, the album certainly did – are you happy with it?
”Thanks! I didn’t really get a lot of say in what I wanted to do on the first album, and now that I’m 18 and I know what I wanna do, it’s a lot easier.”
We hear you’ve been hanging out with our Brit boys, The Wanted and One Direction?
”I met The Wanted briefly at The Voice and they seem like fun guys to hang out with, for sure. One Direction are cool guys, too – I was with Niall yesterday. I’m good friends with all of them, they’re good guys.”
If you had to be in either The Wanted or One Direction…
”I couldn’t pick. They’re so different.”
You’ve changed your hair – when did you decide enough was enough with the whole Bieber ‘do’?
”I felt like my fans wanted a change and, you know, you can’t do things for ever.”
Did you see load of guys with the same haircut as you?
”Yeah. Everybody had the same haircut so I wanted to do something really different.”
Did you find that a bit weird?
”At first I thought it was weird but then I was like, ‘You know what? It’s a compliment if they want to have the same haircut as me.’”
You wrote a song on your new album about Mariah Yeater – what made you decide to do that?
”I just wanted to write some music that came from my heart and something that my fans could feel connected to, where they kind of knew the story but they didn’t know if from my perspective. I just wanted to be able to way what I felt.”
Was that quite a distressing time?
”Definitely. I was like, ‘What’s going on right now? Why is this all going on? I didn’t do anything.’ So that was kind of rough, but once people started realising this girl was crazy, I felt better.
Are you worried that it’s giving her the attention she wanted?
”No, because I’m basically saying that she’s full of crap so it’s not going to make her look good in any way.”
Enough bad stuff. You must be really pleased with Carly Rae Jepson!
[Gets excited] “Yeah! She’s doing so well! Her song’s blowing up and she’s been getting a lot of exposure so I’m happy.”
But you went in at number two in the UK with Boyfriend and Carly kept you off the top spot!
”My song had just come out so it had time to grow, while her song had been out for a bit. But I’m proud of her.”
We did a shoot with her and she’s just adorable…
”Nice. They’ve been working her so hard, haven’t they?”
She was singing at an event the night before, and then was at our studio for 7.30am!
”Yeah… I don’t get up that early!”
“I’m Justin Bieber, I do what I like!”
So you’re pretty bad at getting out of bed?
”I’m terrible. When I wanna sleep, I just wanna sleep” They basically have to come in and wake me up.”
Have you seen Wallace & Gromit where his bed tips and he falls out of the bed into his clothes, and ends up at the breakfast table?
”That would be nice, that’s what I need.”
If you were putting together a hot boy super group, who would you choose to have in it with you?
”I’d say, like me, Jaden Smith, Drake and… hmm, my boys Ryan & Chaz, they’re my friends from back home. Though they’d have to learn how to do music.”
What’s the most awkward thing that you’ve ever forgotten?
”My frickin’ jewellery on the plane trip over here. [Looks really exasperated] My jewellery that I just got, it was super expensive too and I left it on the plane in the little backseat pocket. I literally got off the plane, then told them I’d left it on there, but someone had stolen it by the time they went back for it. Very annoying.”
Ever had a time where you’ve put something down and forgotten where you put it?”
”Oh yeah. I left my phone in the living room and then forgot I put it there, so my friend Ryan put it in my shoe. And so for the whole night I was looking for it, and it was in my shoe the whole time”! He put it there just because he didn’t want me to lose it so he was being a nice friend, but then he forgot to tell me he’d put it in my shoe!”
During interviews, does your mind wander elsewhere?
[Grins] “Sometimes, yeah.”
What have you been thinking about during this one?
”No, this interview I’ve been pretty focused.”
What are you drawing?
”I’ve just been drawing different things. I’ll give you the drawings if you want. You can have them,”
Yes please, that’d be awesome! What’s the one thing that you really can’t get your head around?
”I don’t understand how you actually fall asleep. If it’s night and you think about falling asleep, you can’t fall asleep because you’re thinking about it. I just don’t understand how you fall asleep, like how is that possible?”
It’s quite scary if you think about it!
”Yeah, you’re just letting yourself go into, like… it’s weird.”
Would you rather be super brainy or super hot?
[Thinks] “Depends on what I wanted to do as a career. I mean, I’d want to have brains. I’d rather be able to hold a conversation that look pretty. So probably brains.”
Imagine music doesn’t exist at all, what job do you think you’d do?
”Maybe I’d go to school for something. Like business? I’d be in business.”
If you could go unrecognised for 24 hours, what would you do?
”I would probably go to Disney World or something, that would be cool. If I couldn’t get seen at Disney, I’d be able to go on all the rides and no one would notice”!”
But you’re Justin Bieber, can’t you just queue-jump?
”Yeah, you can but it’s not the same – people still notice and you still get people following you and screaming.”
Obviously you’ve got a girlfriend now, but in the future would you ever date a fan?
”Yeah! I mean, I would definitely date a fan, it just depends if the fan was normal. Like, I’m not gonna date a fan that isn’t normal, who likes me just for being Justin Bieber. If a fan fell in love with me, yeah. I’m not gonna not like you just because you like my music. If she’s a good person, then yeah!”
What do you think is the weirdest thing about girls?
[Thinks] “That girls are so self-conscious – all girls, they’re all so self-conscious, no matter who they are. When they look the most beautiful, they’re like, ‘Oh, do these jeans make me look this or that…’ I wish girls were just more confident in themselves, they’re beautiful in their own way.”
Justin’s album Believe is out now.