Justin Bieber let his tears flow freely while introducing his forthcoming album at a private album playback event in Los Angeles on Thursday (Jan. 25).
After being introduced by Def Jam chairman Paul Rosenberg and longtime manager/SB Projects leader Scooter Braun, Bieber entered a room of music industry insiders with a hockey stick clutched in his hand. He took the mic to introduce his first full-length since 2015’s Purpose and launched into an extended, heartfelt speech about the problems he had faced growing up in the industry, the gratitude he felt toward those that had supported him, and the newfound sense of peace he found with his wife Hailey, who was in attendance.
“I don’t even think I should be alive,” Bieber told the audience while recounting a “super challenging” period in his life. “I feel like God’s brought me out of a really dark place.”
The pop superstar’s voice quivered when thanking members of his team and studio cohorts, then cracked when he reached Braun: “You walked with me through a lot of s—t,” Bieber said, tearing up. He then announced multiple times, “I need to get it together!,” smiling at his emotional delivery.
The speech came across as raw and hard-earned, and the event turned celebratory when Bieber pressed play on his long-awaited new album. The futuristic R&B/pop project finds the singer returning to the sound of his 2013 project Journals (as hinted at on recent single “Yummy”), but with a thematic focus on the healing powers of love and marriage.
Bieber danced joyfully with his hockey stick during the back half of the album, and pointed out the songs that his wife adored most throughout the listening. He shouted out his producer Poo Bear, standing in the back of the event smiling appreciatively; he serenaded his wife, singing the album’s opening track in her direction after its completion; and he called Shawn Mendes, who is not featured on the album but vibed next to Bieber during the listening session, “another Canadian treasure.”
Bieber has yet to announce the official release date of his next album, but his YouTube docuseries, Seasons, arrives on Jan. 27. “Yummy” has peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.