Bieber was born on March 1, 1994 in Stratford, Ontario. Bieber’s mother, Pattie Mallette, was 18 years old when she became pregnant with her son. Bieber was raised as an only child by Mallette, who worked low-paying office jobs, though Bieber maintains contact with his father. As he grew, Bieber taught himself to play the piano, drums, guitar, and trumpet. In late 2007, when he was twelve, Bieber sang Ne-Yo’s “So Sick” for a local singing competition in Stratford and placed second. Mallette posted a video of the performance on YouTube for their family and friends to see. She continued to upload videos of Bieber singing covers of various R&B songs, and Bieber’s popularity on the site grew. While searching for videos of a different singer, Scooter Braun, a former marketing executive of So So Def, clicked on one of Bieber’s videos by accident. Impressed, Braun tracked down the theater Bieber was performing in, located Bieber’s school, and finally contacted Mallette. Mallette was reluctant; she remembered praying, “God, I gave him to you. You could send me a Christian man, a Christian label!” However, after praying with her church elders and receiving their encouragement, she permitted Braun to fly Bieber, then 13, to Atlanta, Georgia to record demo tapes. A week after arriving, Bieber sang for R&B singer/songwriter Usher, who arranged an audition with Antonio L.A. Reid at Island Def Jam Music Group, who in turn signed him to Island Records in October 2008. Justin Timberlake was reportedly in the running to sign Bieber, but he eventually signed with Usher. Bieber and his mother then moved to Atlanta, also the home of Usher and Braun, to base his career. Bieber’s first single, “One Time”, was released to radio while Bieber was still recording his debut album.
The song reached number 12 on the Canadian Hot 100 during its first week of release in July 2009, and later peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100. During fall 2009 it had success in international markets. The song was certified Platinum in Canada and the U.S. and Gold in Australia and New Zealand. Bieber’s first album My World, was released on November 17, 2009. Three consecutive singles, “One Less Lonely Girl”, “Love Me”, and “Favorite Girl”, were released exclusively on the iTunes store and charted within the top forty of the Billboard Hot 100. “One Less Lonely Girl” was later also released to radio and peaked within the top fifteen in Canada and the U.S., being certified Gold in the latter.My World was eventually certified Platinum in the U.S. and Canada and Silver in the UK. To promote the album, Bieber performed in several live shows such as mtvU’s VMA 09 Tour, European program The Dome, YTV’s The Next Star and The Today Show, The Wendy Williams Show, Lopez Tonight, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, It’s On with Alexa Chung, Good Morning America, Chelsea Lately, and BET’s 106 & Park with Rihanna. Bieber also guest starred in an episode of True Jackson, VP in late 2009.
Bieber performed Stevie Wonder’s “Someday at Christmas” for U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the White House for Christmas in Washington, which was broadcast on December 20, 2009 on USA television broadcaster TNT. Bieber was also one of the performers at Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest on December 31, 2009. Bieber was a presenter at the 52nd Grammy Awards on January 31, 2010. He was invited to be a vocalist for the remake of We Are The World for its 25th anniversary to benefit Haiti after the earthquake. Bieber sings the opening line, which was sung by Lionel Richie in the original version. On March 12, 2010, a version of K’naan’s “Wavin’ Flag” recorded by a collective of Canadian musicians known as Young Artists for Haiti was released. Bieber is featured in the song, performing the closing lines.
“Baby”, the lead single from the second half of his debut album, which features Ludacris, was released in January 2010 and became his biggest hit thus far, charting at number five in the U.S. and reaching the top ten in seven other countries. Two digital singles, “Never Let You Go”, and “U Smile” were top thirty hits on the U.S. Hot 100, and top twenty hits in Canada. According to review aggregator Metacritic, the album has received “generally favorable reviews”. It debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, making Bieber the youngest solo male act to top the chart since Stevie Wonder in 1963. My World 2.0 also debuted at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart, Irish Albums Chart, and Australian Albums Chart, and the New Zealand Albums Chart and reached the top ten of fifteen other countries. To promote the album, Bieber appeared on several live programs including The View, the 2010 Kids Choice Awards, Nightline, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Dome and 106 and Park. On April 10, 2010, Bieber was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live.
Bieber will begin recording his next album in the summer of 2010 in New York City. British singer and songwriter Taio Cruz has confirmed he is writing on Bieber’s next project. Bieber’s voice is now deeper than it was when he recorded his albums because of puberty. The singer discussing his vocals remarked, “It cracks. Like every teenage boy, I’m dealing with it and I have the best vocal coach in the world. Some of the notes I hit on “Baby” I can’t hit anymore. We have to lower the key when I sing live.”