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  • April 2010
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From Zero to Famous in Three Years or Less

I’ll be the first person to tell you that I don’t listen to much popular music.  However, after weeks of seeing some guy named “Justin Bieber” all over my Facebook page and hearing my coworkers talking about him ALL THE TIME I figured it was time to find out something about this guy who’s all over my zeitgeist.

I assumed he was one of the High School Musical kids, or was on some show on Nickelodeon — you know, one of those vehicles that takes a young actor and catepoults him or her into fame.  Like Zac Efron, whose turn in HSM landed him roles in movies like Summerland or Vanessa Hudgens, from HSM and the Suite Life of Zack and Cody who’s now starring in the film adaptation of the fantastically awesome teen novel, Beastly.

I was wrong, though.  Justin Bieber, despite his pop sensibilities, seems to be the real deal.  I just spent a very productive half hour watching his YouTube videos and was pretty astounded by his talent.  He rocks the keys, pounds drums, and even plays a sweet Slap Guitar like August Rush.

According to his bio, Justin started singing when he was twelve and living in Ontario.  He entered a singing competition, “Stratford Idol,” and “didn’t take it too seriously at the time.”  But, he ended up coming in second — pretty impressive for a kid competing against people with a lot more experience.  He started putting his videos online for his friends and family and, less than a year later, was flown to Atlanta to meet So Def Marketing and Usher.  They recognized his talent and the rest, as they say, is history.

Justin Bieber performs Fallin’ by Alicia Keys at a singing competition three years ago.

Justin’s official video for One Less Lonely Girl, one of his first studio releases.

I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know — not everyone lives underneath a pop culture rock — but if you enjoy reading about people who find themselves suddenly famous, check out one of the books below.


Meg Cabot

Sixteen-year-old Emerson Watts, an advanced placement student with a disdain for fashion, is the recipient of a “whole body transplant” and finds herself transformed into one of the world’s most famous teen supermodels.

L.A. Candy

Lauren Conrad

When nineteen-year-old Jane Roberts is cast in a new reality show, she discovers that the fame and fortune of her new life come at a high price to herself and her friendships.

Girl in the Arena

Lise Haines

During the week, eighteen-year-old Lyn lives in a big house in Cambridge and hangs out with her friends. But over the weekend, she cheers her father on in a neo-gladiator competition. When her father is killed in the arena, Lyn is sentenced to marry his murderer. To break free from the gladiator culture, Lyn is prepared to do whatever it takes– even if it means going into the arena herself.

Audrey, Wait!

Robin Benway

While trying to score a date with her cute co-worker at the Scooper Dooper, sixteen-year-old Audrey gains unwanted fame and celebrity status when her ex-boyfriend, a rock musician, records a breakup song about her that soars to the top of the Billboard charts.


Barry Lyga

Feeling awkward and ugly is only one reason sixteen-year-old Kevin is uncomfortable with the publicity surrounding his act of accidental heroism. But, when a reporter photographs him apparently being unpatriotic, he steps into the limelight to encourage people to think about what the symbols of freedom really mean.

Sara’s Face

Melvin Burgess

Seventeen-year-old Sara wants so much to be famous that when a legendary, plastic-surgery-addicted rock star offers to take her under his wing and pay for her to have surgery too, she jumps at the chance despite her misgivings.

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