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Justin Bieber vs Justin Timberlake

Justin Bieber vs Justin Timberlake

Forget the Smackdown ideas; we know how the “versus” sounds, but really there is no comparison between the two Justins – Bieber and Timberlake. It really ought to read “and” instead of “vs.” and here’s why.

These gentlemen have two things in common overarchingly:

  • The same first name,
  • Both started out as singers when still teens.

That’s not a lot. Bieber hails from Canada, while Timberlake comes from Tennessee, USA. With 13 years between their ages, they belong to different generations. That means they also have different generational appeal.

If you don’t know marketing, you might not know that generational appeal means everything. It defines which target audience a person or fan falls into, and most performers lack cross-generational appeal. Exceptions might exist like the mom who develops a liking for an artist their child likes, but as a rule, 13-year-olds like performers close to 13 years of age.

They might like an 18-year-old singer, but rarely a 38-year-old singer. These singers lack the same fanbase although, as they have aged, they could develop a bit of crossover, if they begin performing the same type of music.

As they aged, both singers branched out into acting, too. They also both got married. Let’s dive in and look at how different the Canadian and the American superstars really are.

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber performs on NBC's 'TODAY Show' at Rockefeller Plaza.

Letting youth go first, Justin Drew Bieber came into this world on March 1, 1994, in London, Ontario, Canada to Jeremy Bieber and Pattie Mallette. His parents separated during his toddler years, but according to Bieber, he remained close with both parents.

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His dad plays guitar and Bieber also learned that instrument, along with drums, the piano, and the trumpet. His dad taught him some of his first songs on guitar, including Bob Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.”

He became an accidental YouTube craze which sparked Usher to sign him, thus beginning his singing career in 2009. In 2007, Bieber competed in a local singing contest. His mom made a home video of it and posted it to YouTube to share with family and friends who could not attend. She later uploaded other videos of him singing and playing guitar.

More than a decade ago, YouTube and social media in general had yet to become the slick, corporatized thing of today. You could get noticed just by being talented and being there. That happened for Bieber, who has come a long way since 2009, when some adults misunderstood radio DJs when they pronounced his name, thinking some kid name Justin Beaver had made it big.

His video got noticed by Scott “Scooter” Braun, an Atlanta, GA talent agent and music promoter. Inviting Bieber to record demos in Atlanta, he also introduced him to those in the local R & B scene, including Usher, rapper, singer, producer. After an audition, Usher signed him in late 2008.

Most of the almost 30-year-old set probably remembers the summer of 2009 for its puppy love pop hit “One Time.” Bieber and his chubby-cheeked, boyish good looks and squeaky-clean demeanor hit it big. That winter, he released an EP with seven songs, “My World.” It sold more than a million copies and prepubescent girls everywhere sighed and fanned themselves.

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Parents rejoiced to have them listening to someone so preppy. In 2010, Bieber released his full-length album “My World 2.0.” It hit the Billboard album chart at number one with a bullet, meaning it did not climb there. When an album enters the chart the week of its release in a numeric position, it receives a bullet icon next to its title to show its achievement.

Spawning multiple Top 40 hits, the album began his creative dominance. Collaborating with rappers like Ludacris, he started a trend of working with and socializing with those much older than him. He also contributed to helping discover new talent, bringing Carly Rae Jepsen to the attention of his manager in 2012.

Between 2010 to 2013, Bieber pulled an early The Beach Boys type release schedule, bringing out at least one album per year – an unheard-of feat in the 21st century, but one that had been common in rock’n’roll’s beginnings. He released:

2010: “My Worlds Acoustic”

2011: “Never Say Never: The Remixes” and “Under the Mistletoe”

2012: “Believe”

2013: “Believe Acoustic”

The albums produced hits and topped charts in the US and UK. The singer also wrote an autobiographical book, “Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever: My Story” and brought out a documentary titled “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” to dovetail with the remixes album release. While his 2013 hit, “Boyfriend,” produced an adult sound, Bieber was still a teen and one on a runaway freight train of celebrity life.

Justin Bieber at the premiere of YouTube Originals' "Justin Bieber: Seasons"

By 2014, Bieber had been arrested in three different countries – twice for assault, once for vandalism, and once for driving under the influence and drag racing. In fact, much to many parents’ horror, Mr. Squeaky Clean, had gone so off the rails that he drag raced while DUI. He’s banned in Argentina since he evaded arrest in that country after fans videotaped him and his security guards assaulting a photographer who had taken his photo at a nightclub. While he has yet to be arrested for drug use, he was photographed smoking pot that year, too.

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His fans, the beliebers, still loved his 2015 album, “Purpose,” which spawned three number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He collaborated that year with Jack Ü’s Grammy Award-winning song, “Where Are Ü Now.” He turned to collaborations for the next few years focusing instead from 2016 to 2020 on relationships. In 2017, he cancelled a long scheduled tour and retreated from public.

While he’d dated Selena Gomez in his early teens, in 2018, he married model Hailey Baldwin on September 13, 2018. They’d dated before, in 2016, then ended their friendship. Rekindling the friendship, led to marriage. The couple held a second ceremony on September 30, 2019. His relationship with Baldwin he says, provided the inspiration for his fifth studio album, “Changes,” released in 2020. A smattering of his latest hits includes “Despacito (Remix),” “Let Me Love You,” and “I’m the One.” He also debuted a YouTube series “Justin Bieber: Seasons.”

He’s continued to have altercations, although less violent, with people including his fans who contact him when he is seen in public, such as on the street in front of his home. The troubled superstar has amassed a $285 million personal brand comprised of sales of music, merchandise, touring, product endorsements, and business ventures, but has fans worried. They frequently post concerned messages to his social media, some who witness his wild behavior, others who simply read about it.

Bieber also has received two troubling diagnoses – one in February 2019 for depression, the other in January 2020 for Lyme disease. The latter was found when he contracted mononucleosis.

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Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake at Songwriters Hall Of Fame 50th Annual Induction and Awards dinner.

Justin Randall Timberlake came into this world on January 31, 1981, in Memphis, Tennessee. His parents, Lynn Bomar Timberlake (also known as Lynn Harless) and Randall Timberlake welcomed him into a religious family. Timberlake’s grandfather on his dad’s side was a Baptist minister.

Skipping through the local talent shows, Timberlake competed on Star Search at age 11. He didn’t win the show, but he got noticed and as he aged it helped him land a spot on “The All-New Mickey Mouse Club.” He co-started on the show with a few people you might have heard of – his now ex-girlfriend, superstar Britney Spears, actor Ryan Gosling, actress Keri Russell, superstar Christina Aguilera, and future bandmate and friend JC Chasez.

He and Chasez helped found the boy band *NSYNC. Timberlake was 14 when the band came together, releasing a self-titled debut album in 1998. For the next four and a half years they topped the charts and became household names. Young girls everywhere swooned. They squealed. It was late 20th century Beatlemania all over again. Timberlake had one experience in 2000 where he yelled at fan, verbally abusing her. It’s the only report of that type of behavior.

Justin Timberlake at the premiere of his movie "Trouble With The Curve" at the Mann Village Theatre.

Then, in 2002, Timberlake decided to take his songwriting skills to the studio to record a solo album. His breakup with his longtime girlfriend, Britney Spears influenced the heavily R&B sound. In November of 2002, he released “Justified” which included the hits “Like I Love You,” “Cry Me A River,” and “Rock Your Body.” He followed it with many albums, producing hit after hit, such as the 2006 hit “SexyBack,” which still enjoys club and radio play. He also collaborates, for instance with Madonna on her single “4 Minutes,” which became a Top 40 hit.

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While he busied himself bringing sexy back, he continued to record and expressed an interest in acting. It wasn’t a fleeting thought. He’s established himself a decent IMDB resume of acting credits including “The Social Network” in 2010, “Friends with Benefits” in 2011, and “Trouble with the Curve” in 2012.

This foray into acting also helped him meet new people, among those, actress Jessica Biel. The dancing king fell for the established actress and the couple wed on October 19, 2012. At publication, they have two children.

The singer used his celebrity and money to found philanthropy, The Justin Timberlake Foundation, which does similar work to the Save the Music Foundation. The guy who was named 2002’s most eligible American bachelor now enjoys married life and doting dadhood. He collects Harley Davidson motorcycles and sports jerseys and drives a Mercedes M Class.

In Conclusion

So, unless you consider having the same first name and both starting out in your teens to be viable competitive criteria, you see how different this 20-something and 40-something are. There’s room in the world for both of the Justins.