Scooter Braun Talks Upbringing, Bieber's Growth
By ROBERT PACE
September 05, 2013
As he continues to flourish in the music industry, ET sat down with artist manager and record label owner Scooter Braun to hear about his personal background as well as his thoughts on his high-profile clients like Justin Bieber and Psy.
Now 32, Braun began his professional career at an early age, establishing himself as a party promoter while attending Emory University in Atlanta. Braun, who explains how he inherited the nickname "Scooter" from his birth name, Scott, admits that he originally fibbed about his Connecticut upbringing and claimed he was from Queens in order to avoid the stigma of arising from a middle-class neighborhood.
Braun, who lists a few of his musical influences as Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Jon Secada, Grateful Dead, and Bob Dylan, recalls his big break as a manager with rapper Asher Roth, who emerged with his platinum single "I Love College" in 2009.
Shortly after, Braun met his most prolific client to date: Justin Bieber. Braun recalls stumbling upon Bieber's YouTube videos and being impressed by his extraordinary vocal ability.
"I got to him singing 'So Sick' by Ne-Yo.' That's a very soulful song and he was incredibly soulful," the School Boy Records co-owner recounted. "At that point, it went off and I was like, 'That's the kid I'm looking for,' and I went and found him."
Three albums later, Bieber is Braun's most prominent client, a worldwide pop sensation at the age of 19. As the Canadian singer continues to develop his career, he has recently been scrutinized for his reported rowdy behavior.
Braun says that most of the reports about Bieber's raucous conduct aren't true and dismissed the instances in which his client was acting unruly as indicative of his age.
"Just 'cause it's being reported all over the press doesn't make it real. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I have to remind myself that," he said. "When he does make a mistake, he's 19. He's going to make mistakes. All of us made mistakes."
Braun also shared his thoughts on young stars in general, highlighting what he perceives to be a hypocritical inconsistency in the wide perception of successful youngsters.
"We tell our youth, 'We want you to be great. ... We want you to change the world,' but the moment our youth actually exceed our expectations, we belittle their achievements," he noted. "We tell them, 'Oh, well they're young; it's not credible."
Watch the video above to see Braun's full interview, including more thoughts on Bieber, Psy, and the transitional development of younger artists like his client Ariana Grande, who dropped her debut album earlier this week.