Each time I interview someone really famous the questions start.
How’s Gwyneth’s skin? How tall is Brad Pitt? I’ve even been asked what George Clooney smells like. But ever since I hosted a Toronto press event with Justin Bieber to publicize his new movie Never Say Never on Tuesday, the question everyone has asked, and it has been dozens of people, is much more basic. “What’s he like?” everyone wants to know.
I won’t presume to be able to answer the question after only spending a few minutes backstage and 30 or so minutes on stage with the pop prodigy, but I have a few observations based on our short time together.
Firstly, he’s a high-energy kid. Backstage he was a bundle of energy. When he wasn’t tweeting or sharing funny You Tube videos with his stylist Ryan, he was chatting and joking around. “I hope you’re a good translator,” he joked to me as we walked to the stage, “because I’m going to do the whole interview in Spanish.” Then he burst into song. “Feliz Navidad...”
Onstage, luckily he stopped the Christmas carols but showed another aspect of his personality. Less than two years ago he was playing to 40 fans at a water park in Poughkeepsie, New York. Now he can sell out Madison Square Gardens in 22 minutes and he hasn’t forgotten the people who got him there—his fans.
“Where are my fans at?” he asked. “There’s a lot of fans [outside]. Can we bring those fans in? I love you guys with the cameras and stuff, but what’s the point if my fans aren’t here?”
Also, he’s as humble and normal as a pop superstar can be. When I asked him when he first felt famous he said, “I still don’t really notice it. I’m still just a regular teenage boy, living his dream and having a lot of fun.” Later I asked about household chores. “I do clean my room, especially when I’m home at my grandma’s house.”
Lastly, I learned he’s still a proud Canadian, with a taste for a particular icy cocktail not served in his new hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. “I miss Tim Hortons,” he said. “I miss Timmy’s! I miss my Ice Cap.”
So what’s my answer to the burning question, “What’s Justin Bieber like?” Well, he’s just like any other high energy, fan-lovin’ Canadian multi-millionaire 16-year-old pop superstar with a taste for chilled coffee.