Justin Bieber's 14 Most Priceless Music Moments
It seems like only yesterday that a baby-faced 15-year-old Canadian named Justin Bieber burst onto the scene and stole the charts, as well as our hearts. In fact, it’s been more than six years since the Biebs dropped his debut single, “One Time,” and began his meteoric rise from YouTube sensation to global pop titan. Now a tatted-up 21-year-old, Bieber has five No. 1 albums to his credit, and despite some highly publicized missteps, he’s still going strong. Earlier this year, he scored a top 10 hit with the Jack Ü collaboration “Where Are U Now,” and after a three-year gap, he’s rumored to be prepping his fourth proper artist album.
Perhaps Bieber will preview some new tunes when he appears at Billboard's inaugural Hot 100 Festival, which hits New York's Nikon at Jones Beach Theater (and the surrounding beach area) on Aug. 22-23. Or maybe he’ll stick to a setl ist of his career-defining hits. Either way, his performance will be one that Beliebers wont want to miss. Before Bieber hits the beach, relive 14 of his most priceless music moments.
October 2008: Bieber gets an audience with Usher and a major-label record deal. In some ways, Bieber owes it all to his mom, Pattie. After she began posting YouTube vids showcasing her little man’s pipes, manager extraordinaire Scooter Braun spotted the talented youngster and arranged a meeting with Usher. The R&B superstar was captivated, as was legendary record exec L.A. Reid, who signed Bieber to Island Records soon after.
May 18, 2009: Bieber drops his debut single, “One Time,” and sets the stage for Biebermania. The video for Bieber’s opening pop salvo begins with the teen talking to Usher and promising to keep an eye on his mentor’s house. Spoiler: Biebs throws a party, but it’s a fun and innocent affair, just like the song. Revisiting “One Time,” which hit No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100, it’s easy to see why the world fell for Bieber. Here was a fresh-faced kid with sweet moves, a smooth voice, a slightly rascally vibe and limitless potential.
Nov. 17, 2009: With his debut EP, Bieber begins conquering the World. Featuring snappy pop tunes (“Bigger,” “Love Me”), an Usher cameo (“First Dance”), a somber ballad (“Down to Earth”), and two bona-fide chart hits (“One Time” and “One Less Lonely Girl”), Justin’s seven-track EP My World shot to No. 5 on the Billboard 200 and went gold by year’s end. Biebermania wasn’t quite the same as Beatlemania, but it was the coolest the bowl haircut had been since 1964.
March 19, 2010: Bieber tops the charts with his debut LP, My World 2.0. As if first-week sales of 283,000 weren’t impressive enough, Bieber’s full-length debut moved 300,000-plus units during its second week. The uptick made the Canadian phenom the first artist since the The Beatles to debut atop the charts and then sell more the following week. What was everyone buying? “Baby,” of course, but also nine more slices of bubblegum teen-pop produced by the likes of The-Dream and Tricky Stewart. It was Justin’s world; the rest of us were just paying rent.
July 16, 2010: Bieber’s “Baby” video, becomes King of YouTube. Rare is the artist capable of overshadowing Lady Gaga. That’s precisely what Bieber did in July 2010, when his five-month-old “Baby” clip surpassed Mother Monster’s “Bad Romance” as the most-viewed YouTube video of all time. This was no fluke. The lead single from Bieber’s full-length debut is an infectious dance-pop tune with a cool Ludacris cameo, and the video lets JB show off his dancing and bowling skills. Biebs was a baller in more ways than one. The clip was eventually bested by Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” (another product from the Scooter Braun machine), but we doubt Biebs shed any tears. On March 4, 2014, “Baby” became only the second video to receive more than 1 billion YouTube views.
Feb. 11, 2011: Bieber goes big screen with the 3-D biopic Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. If Bieber’s haircut looked cool in magazines and on TV, it was doubly amazing in supersized 3-D, which helps explain why this film was such a runaway smash. Shot in August 2010, as JB prepped for a triumphant sold-out gig at Madison Square Garden, Never Say Never narrowly missed winning its opening weekend at the box office, losing to the Adam Sandler comedy Just Go With It. Fortunately, the tie-in album Never Say Never: The Remixes went to No. 1, so Biebs had the last laugh.
Nov. 1, 2011: Bieber spreads the holiday cheer with Under the Mistletoe. If the holiday season of 2011 seemed extra festive, it was all thanks to Bieber. With his second studio album, Under the Mistletoe, he enlisted buds like Busta Rhymes, Mariah Carey, and the The Band Perry to help him promote peace on earth and lots of CD purchasing. Under the Mistletoe debuted atop the pop charts, making the Biebs the first solo artist to notch three No. 1 albums before turning 18.
March 26, 2012: Bieber goes from boy to man with “Boyfriend.” Released a few weeks after his 18th birthday, the lead single from Bieber’s third album, Believe, was all about reinvention. On “Boyfriend,” Biebs makes like another famous Justin (Timberlake, that is) and moves from teen-scene pop to sleek, suave R&B. He even traded his bowl cut for a boss pompadour. The transition paid off, and “Boyfriend” became his first Canadian No. 1 and his highest-charting single in the U.S., where it reached a swaggy No. 2.
June 19, 2012: Bieber makes the world Believe. Bieber had come a long way since “Baby,” and his fans were right there with him. Believe debuted atop the charts, giving the Biebs his fourth No. 1 album and solidifying his place as a grown-up pop star. It also included collabos with Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Big Sean -- A-list rhyme-slayers who lent the project street cred without alienating Bieber’s base.
Sept. 29, 2012: Bieber embarks on the world-conquering "Believe Tour." Spanning late September 2012 to December 2013, Bieber’s second major tour comprised more than 150 shows on every continent except the big frozen one with the penguins. (Maybe next time.) It ranked as one of the highest-grossing tours of 2013, and by the time Bieber wrapped things up in Perth, Australia, he’d generated $209.2 million in ticket sales.
Jan. 29, 2013: Bieber unplugs, remains electrifying. As he’d done in 2010 with My Worlds Acoustic, Bieber returned in February 2013 with stripped-down versions of his recent hits. This time, it really paid off. Believe Acoustic hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200, becoming Justin’s fifth chart-topping LP and making Bieber the only artist in history to score five chart-topping album before turning 19 years old.
May 20, 2013: Bieber wins Billboard’s first-ever Milestone Award. Haters gonna hate, but Bieber’s fans stand by their man. Thanks to votes from more than 36 million Beliebers, Justin took home Billboard’s inaugural Milestone Award at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards, which honors the year’s impressive chart achievements. While Bieber heard a few boos while accepting his trophy, he kept it classy, thanking his peeps and defending himself in the wake of his recent misadventures. "I'm 19 years old,” Bieber said. “I think I'm doing a pretty good job."
Oct. 7, 2013: Bieber begins sharing his Journals. In late 2013, Monday became the best day of the week for Beliebers everywhere. On Oct. 7, Bieber dropped the song “Heartbreaker,” the first in a series of new songs he released every Monday for 10 consecutive weeks as a lead-up to his second documentary film, Justin Bieber’s Believe. The series, which featured collaborations with R. Kelly and Chance the Rapper, culminated with the December 23 release of Journals, an iTunes-only collection that featured all 10 Music Monday singles, as well as five brand-new tunes. Bieber was making headlines for all the wrong reasons around that time, but Journals helped fans keep the faith.
Feb. 27, 2015: Bieber goes top 10 with “Where Are U Now.” With his last top 10 hit, “Beauty and a Beat,” several years in the rearview mirror, Bieber came into 2015 needing a win. He got one with “Where Are U Now,” a tune he originally wrote as a piano ballad, but wisely sent to beatmeisters Skrillex and Diplo for their Jack Ü project. The plaintive groover soared to No. 1 on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart and landed at No. 8 on the Hot 100. Ready or not, Biebs is back – and he may be better than ever.
Buy tickets for Billbaord's Hot 100 Fest, featuring Nicki Minaj and more, at ticketmaster.com.