Justin Bieber is having a good week, with his documentary, "Never Say Never" leading in the box office and an exclusive cover story on "The Making of Justin Bieber" in The Hollywood Reporter, featuring a dashing new haircut (see photos).
The 16-year-old pop star posed with Usher and Antonio "L.A." Reid, chairman of Island Def Jam Music Group, who signed Bieber to a 360 deal in October 2008 and brought Usher to success in 1992.
"I've seen an artist ascend this fast before but never this big," Reid told the Hollywood Reporter. "It's like the Beatles. It feels like when I was a kid and wanted to go see 'A Hard Day's Night.'"
It was Reid who came up with the idea for "Never Say Never" and demanded it go to theaters instead of direct-to-DVD because "Justin is too big for that."
Scott "Scooter" Braun, 29, who discovered Bieber on YouTube and tracked down the youngster through his mother Pattie Mallette and went as far as to contact his local school board, eventually convinced Pattie to bring Justin to Atlanta.
From there, Justin ran into Usher at an Atlanta recording studio and insisted on singing his "U Got It Bad," which led to the Grammy winner starting a new company with Braun, signing Bieber and getting him a record deal. Bieber is expected to earn an estimated $100 million in 2010, according to a Vanity Fair cover story.
Bieber was recently photographed holding hands with 18-year-old Selena Gomez, who stars in Disney's "Wizards of Waverly Place." Several Bieber fans sent death threats to Gomez after the two were seen kissing in the Caribbean in January. Braun, who still manages Bieber seems to be looking out for the pop sensation, worries about things like the fact that if you do an Internet search for "Justin Bieber kissing Selena Gomez," the autofill will pop-up with "Justin Bieber dead."
"So what, they want him dead for kissing Selena?" Braun said to The Hollywood Reporter. "Look, he's growing up and handling these things pretty well. The other day, he dealt with some haters, and Justin said, 'The guy isn't hating me, he's hating the concept of me.' The reason Justin is excited for the movie is because it gives people the opportunity to see who he is."
While the men who started Bieber's career in motion see a great future ahead for the pop star, Bieber himself isn't sweating what's to come.
"I don't like to focus so much on the future," Bieber said. "Right now I just want to love what I'm doing, and that's making music and making people smile. I hope I get to do that for a long time to come."
Bieber and Usher will share a duet at the Grammy awards this Sunday. He will also appear on both "Chelsea Lately" and "George Lopez" on Valentine's Day.
Catch the full interview in the February 2011 print issue of The Hollywood Reporter.