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Originally appeared in the Hindu Metroplus in July 2012.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-metroplus/article3684377.ece

The world’s most famous teenager only has a couple of years left before that title gets passed on to someone else. Until that happens, Justin Bieber can still sing to tweens and not seem anachronistic.

With his third album ‘Believe’, the 18 year old wants to portray maturity. After the reviews came in, it seems critics are comparing ‘Believe’ on Beiber’s career graph to another pop star namesake, Justin Timberlake.

In an email interview, Bieber repeats that his new album is not just for his dedicated fan base of ‘beliebers’, as they call themselves. “I just wanted to portray a little bit more maturity in my music. I think that in addition to my young fans, the music in this album is something that a more mature audience can appreciate as well.”

Just as his fans are “beliebers”, one can’t help but speculate there’s more to it than Beiber says was the thought behind his album title. “Belief has always been a central theme in my life you know. Whether you believe in God, in your dreams, in yourself – it is good to believe. It gives people hope that they can attain their dreams.”

“I really wanted my fans to get something new and I’ve really tried that in this album. I’ve experimented with different genres and I hope my fans appreciate it,” he says. After his second album ‘Under the Mistletoe’ was essentially an opportunity to keep his name out there during the festive season, ‘Believe’ doesn’t have a well-bound theme.

Judging by Bieber’s mission statement with this album, it’s evident that the album tries to push forward to take an evolutionary step. It certainly doesn’t outweigh its appeal to existing fans, because no artist would take that leap this early.

His next single ‘As Long as you Love me’ was released on June 11, and has since faired moderately well on music charts across the globe. Bieber is excited about the track, although he seems to run out of things to say about it: “Oh I really love the song – it’s one of my favourites from the album just
because it’s such a nice song. We also have Big Sean singing in it because he’s new and fresh and it just adds to the song.”

Pop music relies heavily on collaborations, and the star quotient on this album is not just limited to Bieber and Big Sean. His crew includes Drake, Nicki Minaj, Ludacris and lists mentor Usher as the executive producer. “I love all these artists and their music, so it was an amazing experience for
me to record with each of them. Usher is just someone that I really look up to and I’ve learnt a lot from him over the years,” he says.

As for his wishlist for someone to do a guest spot on his album, he says, “The one wish that will never be fulfilled is that I’ve always wanted to collaborate with Michael Jackson.”

But Bieber can follow in the King of Pop’s footsteps in at least one way, by playing a show in India at the height of his career, just as Michael Jackson did in 1996. This decade’s (arguably) most popular singer makes no promises though:  “I don’t have a visit scheduled yet but I really do want to visit India soon. I’ve heard so much about it, I really would love to meet all my fans from India.”

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