Justin Bieber's on the cover of Complex magazine, right in the early, exciting phase of his already successful, monstrously intriguing comeback. We've been able to see his maturity and newfound commitment to music and personal improvement all year, but now we get to hear it directly from his mouth in a luxuriously long, candid, sharp and vividly expressed conversation. Read it all on Complex, and appreciate 15 of the best bits with us here.
On that pet monkey: "I want people to start seeing me and feel like they can connect with me. I’ve made myself so unrelatable the past year with all the stuff that I was doing. Not even bad stuff sometimes, just outrageous stuff. Like, you got a monkey, what are you doing?"
On his pop music competition (like One Direction, who are dropping an album on the same day this November): "I’ll hear songs on the radio, and I’m not really a fan of what’s going on right now in music. I’ll hear it and go, 'Ugh, why is this being played so much right now?' I have such great music that I want to share with the world."
On his secret prolific side: "I’ve done probably three or four albums that I haven’t released yet. I’ve gotten all of these different modes, and try to dive into different ideas, and I finally came up with something that was pretty genius."
How things started going south early in his career: "I forgot what I was about, what my mom raised me to be. I veered off, and I got tainted. I came into the music industry at 13. I was trying to trust people and they’d break my heart at 15."
What jail was like: "It’s freezing; it’s uncomfortable; there are people in there you just don’t want to be around. I had people who were yelling at me. They were saying, 'Bieber! We fuck with you, bro! We love you! Aye! Keep your head up, bro!' It was kind of funny to hear that, especially from cats in jail."
The way being a competitive basketball player and skateboarder in school led to later issues: "I think that also got me in trouble when I was young, because people don’t like when people are good at stuff. They just hate on it, and that has a lot to do with my hate in general. You see a dude who’s successful and he’s doing what he loves and people don’t take too well to that sometimes. I’d probably be the same way if I was in Canada, seeing this kid driving around in all these fancy cars and shit."
On one of the hallmarks of his dark time, the bucket-peeing incident: "Imagine, you hear that fucking Ozzy Osbourne pisses backstage. Immediately, 'Oh, he’s a freaking rock star!' As soon as I do it, 'He’s being a brat.' Dude, what is bratty about pissing in a bucket? I had to go piss—we all have to pee. The bathroom was like on the other side, and the dude in the club was like, 'Just pee here.' He told me I could and it wasn’t like I was being disrespectful. I feel like that was pretty ostracizing—bigger than it should’ve been."
On another hater magnet moment, the genius-level surly deposition video: "I just felt like I didn’t owe the guy anything. I was just going to mess with every question he had. I got him, too."
On the scourge of yes-men and -women: "When you get famous, you get people that will encourage whatever you do. You’ll do something and they’ll be like, 'That was dope, Justin!' When you’re young especially, you don’t know who’s bullshitting you."
On his infamous Miami arrest at age 19: "The police, they just wanted press; they wanted attention. I never was speeding; I never was drag racing. Everything that comes out of Miami was 'Justin with his dad drag racing.' First of all, my dad wasn’t even with me. He pulled up after because he heard I got pulled over, so he came to see if I was OK. The cop supposedly wanted to be famous for arresting celebrities, and someone had heard him say that prior to that. I wasn’t drinking. I blew the thing and I had 0.01. I might have had a beer earlier in the day or something."
On new hobbies: "Well, I uh...I golf a lot. I wanted to golf today. It’s pretty good—I’m not great or anything. I enjoy it. Also, I can drink now. So I have a few drinks every now and then."
On being unapologetic: "I’m not going to say I’m sorry for the things that I’ve done because I think that it allows me to tell a story. If I would’ve came into the industry at a young age and never had any failures, people would’ve been like, Who is this kid? He’s not relatable. Now, I went through my shit, I came out on the other side, and I’m going to show you it gets better."
On <3: "Love is a choice. Love is not a feeling. People have made it seem in movies that it’s this fairy tale. That’s not what love is. You’re not gonna want to love your girl sometimes but you’re gonna choose to love her."
On his evolving relationship with Christianity (there's a lotttt more in the full piece): "We have the greatest healer of all and his name is Jesus Christ. And he really heals. This is it. It’s time that we all share our voice. Whatever you believe. Share it. I’m at a point where I’m not going to hold this in. ... If we can understand that we’re all imperfect, let’s come to God and come for his help. You’re not weak by doing that. I think that’s a common misperception of Christians, that you’re being weak because you can’t handle it. None of us can handle this world, dude! It’s eating us alive. But, man, I don’t wanna have to do it on my own."
And the best of all: "Like I said, you don’t need to go to church to be a Christian. If you go to Taco Bell, that doesn’t make you a taco."
Vittorio Zunino Celotto