News :: 2013

Justin Bieber: A romantic, regular kid who's nothing like the Dalai Lama

By Page Mackinley

Canadian singer Justin Bieber performs on stage during the 'I Believe Tour' in Helsinki, Finland, on 26 April 2013.

Canadian singer Justin Bieber performs on stage during the 'I Believe Tour' in Helsinki, Finland, on 26 April 2013. AFP/Getty Images/Mikko Stig

Justin Bieber's frenetic and fascinating life has been given the once over in a new interview with a Gulf outlet ahead of the singer's twin Believe tour concerts in Dubai on May 4 and 5.

In the interview, presumably given over the phone, the 19-year-old's replies are more considered than previous reveals, understandably post-Anne Frank.

Diving straight in, here are the highlights:

Despite a stratospheric career launched almost by accident when the busking, then already YouTube sensation Stratford, Ontario 12/13-year-old was tracked down by a persistent Scooter Braun, before a meet with Usher, a smorgasbord of music awards, 15 million album sales and social media dominance beckoned — when asked if he wished he were a regular kid, Bieber replied bluntly:

"I am a regular kid."

Pulled up on that for all the reasons above, Canada's biggest export explained:

"You know what, as long as I keep thinking to myself and always remaining humble, I think that I am a regular kid and knowing that nothing is going to stop me from being who I am, then I'm going to be fine."

Describing his friend, Ryan Butler, who hails from Bieber's hometown as one of the "anchors" that keeps him humble, the singer's answer to an obligatory what-would-you-be-doing-if-you-weren't-famous probe was pretty funny:

"I don't know. Like, I wasn't good in school; I was okay in school, but I was not great," he recalls. "It wasn't getting A's, A's, I was like Bs and Cs, so I like wasn't really focused. I'm glad that this worked out [laughs]."

And like a lot of artists, Bieber saluted Japan as his fave travel destination, due to their tendency not to paw the famous, and, as the singer actually said:

"I like how they bow and take off their shoes when they go to someone's house, it's similar to Canada. In Canada we take off our shoes when we go to houses. In America, you just walk in with your dirty shoes all over the carpet."

Thanks to MTV, countless interviews, music rotation, the 2011 concert-biopic Never Say Never and unprecedented multi-media interaction over the last five years, few can be unaware of Bieber's far from silver-spooned single-parented upbringing by his mother Pattie Mallette.

Of his childhood, the teen star responded to a half-query about being sensitive and romantic by linking the two, saying:

"Sensitive and romantic ... I guess I grew up with my [mom] so she influenced me a lot, so growing up and having your [mom] always around you, you become a sensitive guy. So I think there's ups and downs to it."

Although the interview is new, it's not known whether it's post-Oslo or not. But, as we all know, Bieber is de facto together with Selena Gomez. So with that in mind, here's the rest of his "How-To" manual.

"I think that the most romantic things to do for someone are the things that you spend time on. Like having a picnic where you bring all the stuff they like. You make it something that she's going to remember so she can tell all of her friends. Stuff she can say, 'He did this for me!' That's great."

The incendiary-Instagram sender continued: "I think it's up to the guy to be romantic. I think it's the guy's responsibility to take her out. It can't be the other way around. That would take away my masculinity; I feel if that would happen."

Oddly, considering the number of "ab" and gym images he posts, the heartthrob said he doesn't, "really do anything. I'm 19, so I eat a lot of junk food, [laughs] and I yell and scream and jump a lot, but once I'm older I'll have to start to really take care of my body, and that's when I'm going to start working out."

A revelation that he finds people's covers of his songs "really sweet" and a brief message to all wanna-be superstars to "keep going for it," was followed by an admission that his unfulfilled goal is still that cherished Grammy.

Another funny moment came when the interviewer likened Bieber's "influence" to that of President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama's.

Cue the distancing:

"I think it's kind of amusing to think that but I don't think that's true. I think Obama and the Dalai Llama, they are very powerful people and if I am able to influence people in a positive way sometimes then I'll be lucky."

On what his fans would be surprised to know about him:

"My fans would be surprised to know that, I don't know ... I'm really kind of out there. I mean, there's really nothing I'm hiding so they kind of know a lot about me, so there's nothing really; the things that they don't know, I don't want them to know, so yeah [laughs]. That's kind of funny."

After revealing that he likes acting, Bieber's almost monosyllabic reply to a question of who could play him in a film, was curious.

"Nobody. I don't want anybody to play me."

Then, near the end, the singer who in the last two months, has been accused of everything from thuggery, to arrogance, to stupidity and being on the brink of a drug-fueled meltdown, did a little perceptual correction of his own when the interviewer called his "Belieber" fans crazy.

"Crazy fans? My fans are very inspiring, for them to be so persistent and so driven, is something that I'm lucky to have," he said, firmly.

Good finish.

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