The flock of shrieking preteens (and a few shamefacedly excited adults) attending Justin Bieber’s January 23 Philips Arena show will undoubtedly be well versed in the moppet’s history. After all, the eighteen-year-old has already published two (!) memoirs. For the rest of us: a primer on the pop star’s past—including his tutelage under Atlanta impresario and Emory dropout Scooter Braun—courtesy of his mom Pattie Mallette, who wrote a memoir of her own, Nowhere but Up.
Mallette had Justin when she was eighteen. As a single mom, she spent time on public assistance.
After Braun begged her to come to Atlanta for a meeting, Mallette Googled him and found the article “Scooter Braun Is the Hustla,” which, she notes, “wasn’t the most encouraging first impression for the mother of a thirteen-year-old.”
Braun did his own sleuthing, gleaning from Mallette’s Myspace page that she was Christian. He asked if she had a problem with him being Jewish.“Of course not. Jesus was Jewish,” she answered.
When Mallette and Justin arrived in Atlanta, Braun picked them up at Hartsfield-Jackson in a purple Mercedes.
The singer’s first stop in Atlanta was an NBA 2K8 video game playdate with record producer Jermaine Dupri. Braun’s advice? “Be prepared to lose.”
Future mentor Usher originally blew off the pint-sized Biebs’s offer to sing for him, saying, “Some other time, buddy. It’s cold outside.”
This article originally appeared in our January 2013 issue.