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       Justin Bieber - First Step 2 Forever- My Story, p.1

           Justin Bieber
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Justin Bieber - First Step 2 Forever- My Story



  First Step 2 Forever: My Story


  Cover Page

  Title Page

  A Special DM to the Greatest Fans in the World!

  1 Let’s Get This Show on the Road

  2 A Secret Musician

  3 The Stratford Star

  4 YouTube: My First Million

  5 The Start of a New Life

  6 Welcome to My World

  7 Just the Beginning

  Thank You

  About the Author


  About the Publisher


  How can I begin to thank you for making this journey possible? Every one of you is “My Favorite Girl” for a different reason, because each of you is special in your own way. Everywhere I go, whatever I do, I try to connect with as many of you as possible. If you’re up front at a concert, I might reach out and hold your hand. If you show up outside the arena after the show, you might get soaked in one of our epic water fights. You might just be talking to your friends on Twitter saying you have a one-in-a-million chance of reaching me and now I’m following you. My dreams used to be a one-in-a-million chance as well, but as I said in the song, never say never. I never forget that none of this would have happened without you. That’s why I want to share this story with you: so you can experience the journey with me, all the highs and lows, the laughter and the tears. You were there from the beginning. Now, as you see what I saw and feel what I felt, I hope you’ll believe that big dreams really can come true. I’m living mine every day. Thanks to you.





  TUESDAY, JUNE 22, 2010

  9:45 A.M.

  Rolling into the XL Center, I feel like I ought to have skates on my feet.

  “Hey!” I elbow my grandpa in the ribs. “Can’t you just smell the hockey?”

  He laughs. “Oh, yeah.”

  In less than forty hours, the XL Center will be jammed to the rafters with almost twenty thousand screaming fans, but right now the venue is just begging for a Zamboni.

  A Zamboni is that huge tank-like thing they drive around to even out the ice during halftime at a hockey game. It melts the top layer, which almost immediately refreezes as smooth as glass. But I can’t believe I have to describe what a Zamboni is. It’s like describing something you’ve known since the day you were born.

  “A lot can change in three years... it’s unreal”

  Being a Canadian, hockey is our thing. We have it in our blood.

  Sometimes they let a celebrity guest a war hero, beauty-pageant winner, local news anchor, or whatever – ride in the Zamboni. And, until three years ago, that was my definition of celebrity: somebody who gets to ride around in the Zamboni. My definition of a rock star was somebody who gets to ride around in a tour bus.

  A lot can change in three years.

  When I was twelve, my manager, Scott “Scooter” Braun, saw a YouTube video of me performing in a local talent show. When I was fourteen, we joined forces with the recording artist Usher, who was not only one of my heroes but helped introduce me to the world. A few months after my fifteenth birthday, my first single dropped. Now I’m sixteen and about to launch my first tour as a headliner.


  The My World Tour will hit eighty-five cities in the US and Canada – connecting with almost two million fans – all in less than six months. My backup singers, Legaci, my dancers, band and a huge crew are all on the ride with me. It takes eight buses and a whole fleet of eighteen-wheelers to move all the people and equipment.


  “The My World Tour will hit eighty-five cities – connecting with almost two million fans – all in less than six months”

  I make my way across the bus garage with my grandparents, Bruce and Diane Dale, and Kenny Hamilton, personal security ninja and frequent victim of my Xbox 360 powers of annihilation. My mom, Pattie Mallette, teeters along behind us, rocking skinny jeans and high heels. Mom is a trip and she sacrificed everything for me.

  Scooter has already been at the venue for hours, shooting hoops with the roadies and backup dancers between frantic cellphone calls. Scooter’s the mastermind behind the operation and he and the team wrestle all the details into place: media stuff, like interviews and photo requests; logistical stuff, like who’s going where in which bus; and of course crucial life-dependent matters, like making sure I don’t eat any pizza the day of the show (singers aren’t supposed to have dairy before a show, but we all know I’m a rule breaker. Pizza is just so good!). Scooter’s always strategizing – he treats life like chess, always eight moves ahead. The dude’s a beast.

  With a quick fist bump “wassup” to Kenny and hugs for me and Mom, he leads us through the backstage catacombs to the arena where the tour riggers are craning in a huge steel-framed hot air balloon basket.

  “Nice.” Kenny and I nod our approval.

  This thing is designed to fly me out over the crowd during the song “Up,” starting upstage about thirty feet in the air, then floating out over their heads, gliding on waves of energy and noise, dipping not quite low enough for them to touch, but close enough for me to see all those beautiful faces. I really hope my fans are gonna go crazy when they see it. But then the gondola makes a noise like a Chevy grinding through a guardrail. It lurches to a halt. Jerks to the left. Wobbles to the right.

  I’m like, “Whoa, dude! That’s not supposed to happen.”

  High in the catwalks, the fly riggers debate back and forth on their walkie-talkies in hushed voices. Not cool. But, just when I start to experience some talkback from the big breakfast in my stomach, I feel a reassuring arm around my shoulders. Scooter’s girlfriend, Carin, is standing beside me. Carin is helping out on tour – but really she is here to help me and Scooter navigate this crazy time in our lives. She’s a major part of our support system, and always has my well-being at the front of her mind.

  “Don’t worry,” she says. “It’ll be cool. Safety comes way before special effects. You know that.”

  “Yeah, I know,” I tell her. “But I don’t want to have to cut any of the tricks. The show is so awesome. I just want it to go perfect.”

  “It will,” says Mom. “It’s going to be amazing.”

  “Totally amazing,” Carin agrees. “Look. I think they’ve got it.”

  The steel gondola recovers its balance, soaring smoothly again, along with music from the soundboard.

  * * *

  It’s a big, big world. It’s easy to get lost in it...

  * * *

  I love that line in the lyrics. Sometimes I feel like that’s what everyone’s expecting. My world got very big, very fast, and based on a lot of sad examples from the past, a lot of people expect me to get lost in it. I’m always getting asked the same two questions: “How did you get started?” and “How do you stay grounded?”

  Standing there in the XL Center, I can see the answers to both: I’m surrounded by super-smart, super-talented, extremely good people who love me and watch out for me every step of the way. They don’t let me lose sight of where I came from or where I’m going. And they don’t let me get away with any crap. The success I’ve achieved comes to me from God, through the people who love and support me, and I include my fans in that. Every single one of you lifts me a little bit higher.

  “The success I’ve achieved comes to me from God...”

  “My world got very big, very fast, and based on a lot of sad exampl
es from the past, a lot of people expect me to get lost in it”

  * * *

  ... nowhere but up from here, my dear...

  Baby we can go nowhere but up. Tell me what we got to fear. We can take it to the sky past the moon through the galaxy. As long as you’re with me.

  * * *

  What a trip! Better than a Zamboni ride.

  The reality of how really big this show is going to be hadn’t fully sunk in until we got to the XL Center. The tour director, Tom Marzullo, Scooter and I came into it with all these huge ideas, and, once we started rehearsals, I was blown away at how amazing it’s going to be. Huge rigs sailing through the air. A two-story stage with ramps and platforms. Elevator rigs raise giant set pieces sky high and sink back down into the underworld. We’ve got fog machines, follow spots, my dancers and me flying fifteen feet above the floor – it’s a huge super-cool production. I can’t believe I’m here at the center of it all, and I feel a huge responsibility not to screw it up.

  “It’s a lot,” Grandpa says, as if he’s reading my mind. “It’s... it’s a lot. But you’ll do okay, Justin. You just do what you do, and it’ll work out fine.”

  * * *

  ... we were underground, but we’re on the surface now.

  * * *

  He has tears in his eyes. He does that a lot lately. He gets very emotional when he comes face to face with everything that’s happened in my life. He’s been known to burst into tears during TV interviews, and he’s not at all hung up about that. This guy’s a hockey-loving, elk-hunting, head-butting Canadian dude, tougher than anybody I know. I think that’s why he’s not afraid to show his feelings – how much he loves us, how proud he is of me and Mom and all his kids and grandkids – and that’s why I’m not afraid to show my feelings either. (Well, most of the time. Within reason. You know what I’m saying.) I’m finally taller than my grandpa, but I’ll always look up to him. He’s there for me when I need him and has been since my earliest memories.



  The day I was born, March 1, 1994, Celine Dion was solid at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “The Power of Love.” Not a bad song to start your life on. My musical director Dan Kanter, whose guilty pleasure is Celine Dion, must have been really excited that day. It was all over the radio, so I probably heard her belting it out before I got my first look at the blue sky over Stratford, Ontario. My hometown is 2,450 miles northeast of Los Angeles, 530 miles northwest of New York City, 1,312 miles due north of Disney World, and totally on the other side of the world from Tokyo. But that day, people all over the planet were listening to Celine Dion and loving it.

  I am a proud Canadian and I hope that comes through in everything I do. I love hockey, maple syrup and Caramilk bars. Canada is an awesome country in general, and Stratford is an excellent place to call home. The people are nice, but not easily impressed. I go back there to visit Grandpa and Grandma and my friends, Ryan and Chaz, as often as I can, and everybody treats me the same as always.

  Stratford is a small town of about 30,500 people, named after Stratford-upon-Avon in England, which is the birthplace of William Shakespeare. So it makes sense that there’s always a lot of comedy and drama going on and that our Stratford is the home of a huge Shakespeare festival – the biggest in North America. Every summer, about a million tourists come through to see the plays at the Avon Theatre, check out the local arts and crafts and poke around the town, which gets pretty quiet in the winter.

  “Everybody treats me the same as always”

  If you’re looking at a map of North America, you’ll see that Ontario is that little triangle of Canada that cuts down into the Great Lakes between New York and Michigan. Stratford is actually pretty close to the United States, halfway between Detroit and Buffalo, but, when I say I’m from Canada, some people think that means I came in from the North Pole on a dog sled or something. Sometimes it does seem like winter lasts forever, but it’s more because the kids are dying for the school year to be over. Summers are hot and muggy, but always a lot of fun. In the fall, the whole place is blazing with colors like you cannot believe. In the spring, it’s incredibly beautiful. The snowmen keel over or get kicked down, the slush piles melt away, and the grass on the baseball diamond sort of struggles to wake up. The air is clean. Everything smells like wet pine trees.

  “I’m a proud Canadian and I hope that comes through in everything I do”

  “My dad has influenced not only my life but my music”

  My mom and dad were in their late teens when I was born. Not that much older than I am now. (And, yeah, that kinda freaks me out, so I don’t dwell on it.) My dad, Jeremy Bieber, was basically a kid, doing his best to handle huge adult responsibilities. Lately, I’ve started to understand how hard that is. He and I have always had a great relationship, and as the story goes on you’ll see how he’s influenced not only my life but my music. I admire my mom so much for how she stepped up to meet all the challenges in her life.

  My parents broke up when I was ten months old. Shortly afterwards, my dad started working on construction jobs out of town. Mom basically worked her butt off at whatever job she could get to keep a roof over our heads. We lived in public housing, and there were no luxuries at our little apartment, but it never occurred to me that we were poor. We had each other, which was everything we needed.

  While Mom was working, I went to daycare, but I also spent a lot of time with my grandparents. I had a room at their house, and Grandma painted it blue and white with Toronto Maple Leafs stuff all over the walls. There was never any question about it: I was into hockey from day one, and the Maple Leafs were my favorite team.

  Every summer, Grandpa and Grandma took us up to Star Lake, where they rented a cabin that belonged to the rod-and-gun club. Grandma’s brothers and sisters would come, and Grandpa and I would go fishing with Grandma’s dad. Being French Canadian, he didn’t speak English, and Grandpa didn’t speak French, so there wasn’t much conversation going on. But that’s a cool thing I learned from fishing: sometimes you don’t need conversation. Ha ha.

  I spoke both French and English from the time I was little, so I could interpret when needed.

  “I’d really love to have a nice girlfriend”

  Grandpa would say, “Ask him if he’s hungry.”

  And I’d go, Avez-vous faim?

  Great-grandpa would nod enthusiastically. Mais oui, j’ai très faim.

  But, for the most part, they both knew the important words. Fish, poisson. Boat, bateau. Water, l’eau. Thanks, merci. You’re welcome, pas de quoi. I have to pee, j’ai envie de faire pipi. What else do you really need to know to get along?

  “Fishing’s not something you have to talk about. It just happens,” Grandpa says, and it seems to me that a lot of things in life are that way. I mean, think how nice it is when you can hang out with someone and not have to fill up the air with small talk. I hate being on a date where both people are working too hard to come up with stuff to say. You know it’s working when you can just chill – listen to music, watch a movie or whatever – without feeling like you have to force the conversation. It should just be natural. When it’s working, there’s room in the air for both people to say things that matter. Scooter gave me the smartest dating advice you could ever give – to a guy or a girl – just listen. And that means really listen to what the other person is saying instead of using that time to come up with your next clever remark.

  Anyway. Yeah. Quiet mornings out on the water. There’s not much of that in my life anymore. I’m going at light speed 24/7 – and I love it. I’m grateful for all the blessings and opportunities that have come my way. But I will say that when I was little, I longed for a “normal” life with a “normal” family, and there’s no way that’s ever going to happen now. There’s a circus going on around me everywhere I go, which makes it hard on my family sometimes. I’d really love to have a nice girlfriend, but she’d have to put up with all that. You won’t hear me co
mplain about how my life is going, but I hope someday I’ll be out on Star Lake with my own grandkid, reeling in brown trout and telling stories about how all of us would get together by the fire pit in the evening, everybody laughing and talking at once, the same way we did at Christmas dinner.


  Our tradition was always to gather at Grandpa and Grandma’s house early in the afternoon. She’d have the tree up and decorated with all the usual ornaments dragged down from the attic. People would start showing up, and by dinner time there was quite a crowd gathered. And not just the usual grandparents, kids, grandkids. Our extended family is really – well, I guess “extended” is a good word.

  See, my mom’s biological father died when she was a baby, so Grandpa is totally her dad, but technically he’s her stepfather, who married Grandma when Mom was two, which is how my mom actually ended up with a half-brother and a stepbrother both named Chris, because Grandpa already had kids from a previous marriage. It would suck for her stepsiblings and their kids not to be with their dad/grandpa at Christmas, so Grandpa’s ex-wife and her husband come with their kids, plus cousins on this side, and step-sibs on the other side, and after a while it’s pretty complicated trying to keep track of which cousin belongs to whose aunt, or who’s the stepson of the great-uncle, or the grandkid of the step-aunt – and you end up realizing it really doesn’t make any difference.

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