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The Man Who Made Justin Bieber

"Wherever
there’s talent, there’s talent manager," wrote Lizzie Widdicombe in
this New Yorker article. Mozard had his
father Leopold
, Elvis had Colonel
Tom Parker
. The Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync had Lou
Pearlman
(who turned out to have committed one of the largest and
longest-running Ponzi schemes in American history, but that’s another
story.)

Well, this one is about an impressario turned music mogul named Scott
Samuel "Scooter" Braun
. Scooter who? You may not know him,
but you’ve heard of his musicians. Here’s one:

Braun’s first encounter with Bieber, via YouTube, has become
a pop legend. While doing consulting work for the singer Akon, Braun
stumbled across a clip of a twelve-year-old Bieber singing a Ne-Yo song
at a talent show in Stratford, Ontario. At the time, the Jonas Brothers,
a teen group who appeared on the Disney Channel, were huge, and Braun
was looking for an act in a similar vein. He remembers telling Chaka
Zulu, “I’ve got to find a kid who can do what Michael”—Jackson—“did.
I said, ‘There’s a place in the market for a kid who can
sing with an angelic, soulful voice.’ ”

When Braun saw the Bieber clip, he told me, “I was like, ‘This
is the kid I’ve been looking for.’ ” Braun became
obsessed with signing Bieber, and called all over—to the theatre
where the talent show had been held, to the Stratford school board—until,
finally, he tracked down Bieber’s mother, Pattie Mallette. They
talked on the phone for two hours, and, Mallette said, “we really
connected.” She agreed to bring Bieber to Atlanta for a no-strings-attached
trial period. Eventually, Braun said, “I flew him and his mom
down, got them a town house, bought all the furniture for their place,
and started paying their bills.”

Instead of hawking his new talent to record companies, Braun set about
building a bigger following for Bieber on YouTube, where his videos
had already attracted tens of thousands of views. In Atlanta, he and
Mallette made and posted low-fi videos of Bieber belting out R. &
B. covers. Braun made sure to show Bieber playing instruments—drums,
a guitar that looked too big for him—to emphasize that he had
musical chops. Bieber was urged to get rid of the “cheap church
suit” he’d brought from Canada, and told to be just a kid
in a baggy T-shirt.

Oh, and that viral sensation Carly Rae Jepsen and her Call Me Maybe?
Also Scooter.

Read more over at The New Yorker: Link


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