Justin Bieber is a now a serious “adult” artist. That’s the shocking conclusion which left the music industry reeling after the Canadian star won Best International Male at the Brits.
How could the monkey-bothering, tantrum-throwing, saggy pant-wearing child star have beaten credible names like rapper Kendrick Lamar, Drake and Father John Misty to the winner’s podium?
Just by turning up and bringing his attendant media circus perhaps? That’s not how the Brit Awards works of course.
Votes are distributed among artists, retailers, DJs and other industry tastemakers so for Bieber to triumph it must have something to do with the former bad boy’s music.
The reinvention of Bieber with his Purpose album is one of the most stunning turnarounds in pop. Packed with earworms, the tropical vibe of "What Do You Mean?" lodged itself at the top of the charts, followed by Skrillex collaboration "Sorry" and Ed Sheeran co-write, "Love Yourself".
Listeners embraced Purpose’s “coming of age” theme and Bieber’s clever assimilation of EDM, R&B and acoustic strumming into a contemporary pop mix primed for Spotify playlists.
The biggest change is within Bieber himself. The 21 year-old now presents himself as a humble Christian, who abandoned his “lost” party days after hearing a voice from a higher power.
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A Bieber without the Ferrari crashes might make for a a duller individual but as Kanye is finding out to his cost, a little humility allied to serious pop smarts is the best way to retain a seat at music’s top table.
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