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Before They Were Famous: Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber
Christian Augustin, Getty Images

Justin Bieber better thank the guys who created YouTube, because if it wasn’t for the online video platform, this kid might’ve never hit it big! Before he was famous, Bieber was just another kid with a deep passion for music, but thanks to some help from the Internet and his mom, he was able to score a record deal at the age of 14.

Bieber was born on March 1, 1994 in London, Ontario in Canada and was raised by his mother, Pattie Mallette (who was only 18 years old when she gave birth to Justin), and his maternal grandparents. Although his father, Jeremy Jack Bieber, didn’t live with them, Bieber still maintains a close relationship with his father, who also has two children.

While he was growing up, Bieber’s mother struggled to make ends meet by working office jobs. The singer and his mother lived in low-income housing in Stratford, Ontario (where Bieber grew up) as that was all they could afford.

While living in Stratford, Bieber attended a French immersion school called Jean Sauve. His mother is of French-Canadian origins, so she encouraged Bieber to become bilingual. However, languages weren’t Bieber’s main interest.

When he wasn’t playing sports, Bieber loved to create music, teaching himself how to play the piano, drums, guitar and the trumpet. He soon began performing cover songs, with his mother recording him and uploading the videos to YouTube. Soon enough, Scooter Braun (who is now Bieber’s manager but also worked as a marketing executive at So So Def) saw Bieber on YouTube, and convinced Mallette to let the then 13-year-old fly with him to Atlanta, Ga. to record demos. After meeting his mentor Usher and being fought over by numerous labels, Bieber signed a deal in October 2008 with L.A. Reid’s Island Records. And the rest, folks, is Bieber mania history.

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