Justin Bieber’s comeback from a period of time spent in the spotlight for doing things like egging a neighbor’s house and getting a DUI has been successful: He’s released four well-received songs in the past year, including the record-breaking “What Do You Mean?” — and longtime manager Scooter Braun claims he had nothing to do with Bieber’s turnaround.
In Billboard’s new cover story on the “Sorry” singer, Braun and Bieber both speak about the tumultuous time in the pop star’s life and what it took for him to produce his forthcoming album, Purpose, due out Nov. 13.
“I’ll be frank,” Braun said. “I failed for a year and a half. He shut himself off and went into a dark place. Every single day I tried to help him turn it around, and every single day I failed. And I tried desperately. The only person who deserves credit for this is Justin.”
“I couldn’t go to sleep during that time,” he continued. “Every night I was wondering, ‘Is something going to happen?’ I turned to my own dad and asked, ‘What do I do here?’ He said, ‘You just got to be a rock.'”
Bieber eventually made it out of that “dark place,” something he’s singing about on Purpose. “I’m self-expressing with this album,” Bieber told Billboard. “I can’t skip on the moments that were dark, the moments that were happy, the ex-girlfriend stuff. It makes you real, rather than, ‘Let’s call up Max Martin to write you a hit song.’ I want my music to be inspiring.”
He stresses that part of his tough past comes from being a child celebrity, something that he wants people to have more sympathy for: “I want people to be more kind to young celebrities,” he said. “Like Kylie [Jenner]. Look at her world: She has been living on TV since she was a kid. Every time she’s looking around she sees a camera, and that’s affecting how she’s thinking and how she’s perceiving people and why she has to do certain things.”
“Look at the statistics on how many child stars have crumbled and turned out to be wack jobs,” he went on. “It’s because it’s f—ed, bro, this lifestyle.”
Read more on Bieber over at Billboard, and hear Purpose when it arrives Nov. 13.