8 Things We Learned From Justin Bieber’s Complex Cover Story

“If you go to Taco Bell, that doesn’t make you a taco.”

September 28, 2015
8 Things We Learned From Justin Bieber’s <i>Complex</i> Cover Story Getty Images

Justin Bieber is in the midst of a commercial resurgence—“Where Are U Now” was a top ten hit this summer, and “What Do You Mean?” briefly hit No. 1. The singer recently sat down with Complex for a broad-ranging interview. He discussed collaborating with Kanye West, what he learned the night he spent in jail, and his thoughts on love and God. Read highlights from the conversation below.

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On contemporary radio: “I’ll hear songs on the radio, and I’m not really a fan of what’s going on right now in music. I’ll hear it and go, ‘Ugh, why is this being played so much right now?’ I have such great music that I want to share with the world.”

On Working With Kanye West: “I’ll play a song, and he’ll be like, ‘Man this reminds me of like...a blacklight sunset,’ or something. He’ll try to paint these pictures for you. It’s not the average way. He doesn’t just come in and say, ‘This sounds good; this sounds bad.’ He’ll be like, ‘This is this because the world needs this.’ He comes from a whole different point of view.”

On his success in the world of dance music: “I’ve done probably three or four albums that I haven’t released yet. I’ve gotten all of these different modes, and try to dive into different ideas, and I finally came up with something that was pretty genius… we’re breaking barriers in the EDM world. I think people have been trying to do it for a while, making dance music, like Usher and all of those people, but I don’t think it’s been done in the right way.”

On his run-ins with the law: “I was doing anything. I was doing so many things that I shouldn’t even be on the planet still. I think that it was by the grace of God. The whole time, [Bieber’s manager] Scooter [Braun] always made sure I was safe and made sure situations didn’t escalate. He’d fix every situation. It almost wasn’t good, because I’d be like, any time I wanna do something, Scooter is gonna take care of it… I’m not going to say I’m sorry for the things that I’ve done because I think that it allows me to tell a story. If I would’ve came into the industry at a young age and never had any failures, people would’ve been like, Who is this kid? He’s not relatable.”

On going to jail: “It’s freezing; it’s uncomfortable; there are people in there you just don’t want to be around. I had people who were yelling at me. They were saying, ‘Bieber! We fuck with you, bro! We love you! Aye! Keep your head up, bro!’ It was kind of funny to hear that, especially from cats in jail.”

On love: “Love is a choice. Love is not a feeling. People have made it seem in movies that it’s this fairy tale. That’s not what love is. You’re not gonna want to love your girl sometimes but you’re gonna choose to love her. That’s something in life that I had to figure out. I can’t lean on people. I got to lean on God. I gotta trust in him through all my situations. Then, hopefully, my other relationships will flourish around me.”

On God: “If we can understand that we’re all imperfect, let’s come to God and come for his help. You’re not weak by doing that. I think that’s a common misperception of Christians, that you’re being weak because you can’t handle it. None of us can handle this world, dude! It’s eating us alive. But, man, I don’t wanna have to do it on my own. I know for sure my parents can’t give me all that I need. I know that my friends can’t give me all that I need. There’s something missing… Like I said, you don’t need to go to church to be a Christian. If you go to Taco Bell, that doesn’t make you a taco.”

On his plans for the future: “I’m gonna make sure that I don’t have people around me who make me look like an idiot.”

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8 Things We Learned From Justin Bieber’s Complex Cover Story