It’s only October, but Justin Bieber is already way ahead of the game when it comes to holiday spirit. Not only is his Christmas album set for release on November 1, the teen phenom also recently handed over a check for $10,000 to the Startford House of Blessing, a local food bank in his hometown of Stratford, Ontario — enough to fill its shelves through Christmas day. It’s the same food bank where Bieber and his mother Pattie Mallette used to get their food when they couldn’t afford to buy a proper holiday meal.
“We just want to say how thankful we are to Justin Bieber and his family,” House of Blessing’s executive director tells The Hollywood Reporter. “The citizens that are struggling in Stratford will surely benefit from his generosity.”
“Justin has a really big heart,” says Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun in a new interview with THR. Indeed, Bieber has instituted that a portion of the profits from Under the Mistletoe be earmarked to benefit a variety of charities, including Make-A-Wish and Pencils of Promise. And based on the strength of first single “Mistletoe,” along with many more exciting prospects for the record, sales should not be a problem.
Collaborations on Mistletoe include duets with Usher — “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire),” being released on Tuesday — Mariah Carey (“All I Want For Christmas Is You”), Boyz II Men (“Fa La La”), The Band Perry (“Home This Christmas”) and Busta Rhymes (who delivers the album’s sole Hannukah reference). Braun reveals that Bieber plays drums (appropriately on “Drummer Boy”), piano (“Silent Night”) and guitar (“Mistletoe”) on the collection and even produced a couple of tracks, including “All I Want is You.”
The album is already off to a great start — “Mistletoe” spent three days at No. 1 on the iTunes chart — and caps off a busy few weeks for Bieber, who recently returned from a tour of South America where he performed in sold-out stadiums to crowds as large as 70,000. “It was surreal and wild,” says Braun. “Thousands of kids surrounded our hotels every day.” Among the Beliebers? The daughter of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who waited on the runway at the airport to get a photo with the pop star (her father was absent).
As for the proper follow-up to 2010’s My World 2.0? Braun says that in a perfect world, Believe, as Bieber has titled the effort, would be out by summer, but that nothing will be released until it’s perfect.
Meanwhile, Bieber has songwriting on the brain. “He’s pretty adamant about writing a lot of [the album],” says Braun. “And he played me some stuff that he’s been doing on his own. He wrote this amazing song that sounds like a Jodeci record. I’m really excited for him. This kid can sing his ass off. He’s coming into his own.”