“Are you sure it’s gonna be a snow day?” the 16-year-old pop phenomenon from Stratford, Ont., asked excitedly Tuesday, when a fan gave him a weather report during a combo news conference and love-in at the Fairmont Royal York hotel.
“All the kids aren’t going to have school? That’s so awesome! Maybe I’ll be stuck here. That’ll be cool!”
But not even a “Snowpocalypse” could stop the Bieber Blitzkrieg, which moved through Toronto Tuesday with awesome force and to the squeal of screaming tweens, also making stops at MuchMusic and the AMC Yonge-Dundas theatres.
Bieber was in town to talk up his new 3-D movie, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, which opens Feb. 11. He also chatted about his four Juno nominations, announced Tuesday, and the mostly ups and occasional downs of a skyrocketing professional singing career that is less than two years old.
Dressed in a grey hoodie, jeans and colour-coordinated high-top sneakers, Bieber claimed to be a rookie at press conferences. But he worked the room like a pro, handling questions that were lobbed at him like marshmallows and insisting that his fans get equal time with the press.
“Hey, where are my fans at? . . . What’s the point if my fans aren’t in here?”
Bieber told emcee Richard Crouse the impact of sudden fame still hasn’t hit him, even though he’s sold million of records, with hit singles that include “Baby” and “One Time.” He has 6.3 million Twitter followers, 16.5 million Facebook friends and has been viewed one billion times on YouTube, where his rise to the top began.
Bieber is estimated to have earned $100 million, according to Vanity Fair, whose cover he graces this month (with a Rolling Stone front to come). “I still don’t really notice it,” Bieber said.
“I’m still just a regular teenage boy, living my dream, having a lot of fun.”
He’s delighted about his Juno noms, but said he’ll be unable to attend the March 27 awards ceremony due to tour commitments overseas.
He knows that not everybody is a true “Belieber” or succumbing to Bieber Fever: “There’s gonna be haters, no matter what. People want to see you succeed, and then once you’re there, they want to bring you down. It’s a weird world, but that’s how it is. There are people who aren’t gonna like me.”
He’s hoping that Never Say Never, a combo biopic and concert movie that culminates with his sold-out performance last autumn at New York’s Madison Square Garden, will win over any doubters.
“If they watch this movie, and they really get to see that I’m just a nice person . . . a lot of people think I’m just like some factory machine and people just put me together like a product. But I worked really hard to get here, and there are so many people who have helped me.”
He was flanked by some of them on the podium: Never Say Never director Jon M. Chu, and Bieber entourage members Ryan Good, Kenny Hamilton and Allison Kaye, who treated him like an adored kid brother.
And what’s not to love about a charmer who makes “adorable” sound like faint praise, and who candidly admits that the scene in the movie where his granny tells him to clean his room is true?
“Yeah, I clean my room. That day I was kinda just rushed out, and I forgot. but I do clean my room. Especially when I’m home at my grandma’s house. When she tells me to do something I’m like, ‘Okay, grandma!’”
At a fan’s request, Bieber rhymed off his favourite junk food with the seriousness of a courtroom brief.
“A year ago, I was all about Sour Patch Kids. Those are the greatest things. But then my fans kept bringing them to every show. Now, if I eat another Sour Patch kid, I’m probably going to throw up.”
His sweet tooth craves a new treat:
“In Canada, they’re Bigfoots, in America, they’re Swedish Fish. But you know, Canada is better, obviously. Ketchup chips are good. I love them.”
He’s been travelling so much, he hasn’t been home to Stratford as much as he would like. Here’s what he misses about home:
“I miss Tim Horton’s. I miss Timmy’s. I miss my ice caps. I miss my friends and family. I miss my dog Sam.”
He obviously doesn’t miss Gordon Pinsent, the Canadian acting icon who had his own YouTube hit a few weeks back, doing a spoof reading from Bieber’s autobiography, First Step 2 Forever: My Story. Bieber said he hadn’t seen the video, and apparently didn’t even know who Pinsent is.
Getting serious for a second, he denied a fan’s gush that he’s flawless (“I’m not perfect”) and he knows his career isn’t going to always be this wonderful.
But he refuses to dwell on negative thoughts.
“You can’t just think that someone is going to do something wrong, because if you think like that, you’re not going to be happy in your life.
“You have to always expect people to do the right thing, but at the same time, you have to guard yourself and make sure you’re letting the right people in.”
Bieber also doesn’t have time to think about marriage, although star-struck fans constantly pop the question — as one young girl did on Tuesday.
“Will you marry me?” she shyly asked.
“We get that question at least once a day!” Bieber replied.
“The answer is never say never!”
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