Justin Bieber's tough year has left him bruised, sure, but the pop star says he's not letting anything bring him down.
Bieber and his longtime manager Scooter Braun sat down with The Hollywood Reporterfor a lengthy cover story that reveals how the 19-year-old singer has been dealing with the intense media scrutiny for nearly his entire life.
"I don't give a [expletive]," Bieber tells The Hollywood Reporter. "Not 'I don't give a [expletive]' to just be reckless and do whatever, but 'I don't give a [expletive] what they say,'" he explains. "I know who I am and what I'm doing in my life and what I've accomplished and continue to accomplish as a performer, as a writer, as an artist, as a person, as a human being. I'm happy with the man I'm becoming."
The Canadian-born singer has been involved in a string of negative incidents recently, including altercations with the paparazzi, offending an entire nation by kicking a flag off a stage, and multiple other instances of debauchery which have been relentlessly analyzed by the media and public alike.
“When people see a negative thing about me on a magazine, they’re gonna buy it,” Bieber says. He explains that he's often just a pawn in a bigger game: “Every time some site writes something bad, all my followers go on there, and it brings them more traffic. Now they have all the Beliebers on their site, which gives them money from advertisers. They’re just worried about money. They don’t care about ruining someone’s name.”
In the interview, it is also revealed that some of Bieber's biggest influences come in the form of Hollywood mentors like Will Smith, Adam Levine, Eminem, Oprah, and especially rapper Drake. Braun says that Drake is like a "big brother to Justin," while revealing that Smith has weekly conversations with the singer to sort out any issues Bieber might be going through.
Here are some of the other fascinating tidbits Bieber revealed:
On what he finds 'cool' : "I'm very influenced by black culture, but I don't think of it as black or white," he says. "It's not me trying to act or pose in a certain way. It's a lifestyle -- like a suaveness or a swag, per se. But I don't really like to say the word ['swag'] anymore. It's kind of played out."
The one thing he's learned growing up in the spotlight: “You shouldn't trust just anybody... I trust my mom and dad. I trust Scooter with my career. He’s always made sure I’m taken care of,” he said. “That’s it.”
On Bieber's relationship with his manager:"Scooter [Braun] was like the father figure in my life. But when I started to grow up, it was hard for him to have to listen to my input. I want to be me, to show everybody who I am as an individual. I don't want to just be a puppet."
Whose career he hopes to emulate: “Michael Jackson didn’t do ‘Off the Wall’ until he was about 23,” he said of the King of Pop’s album. “‘Bad,’ not until he was, like 25 [Jackson was 29]. I have all the time in the world. Justin’s ‘Thriller’ is yet to come.”