In a candid interview with NME Magazine, Justin Bieber has revealed that the constant pressures of hiding from the paparazzi and mobs of screaming fans have left him "struggling to get through the days" at points and that the emotive Amy Winehouse documentary really struck a chord with him.
Justin Bieber told interviewers that he too feels like he has been abused by the media like the late Amy Winehouse. While Winehouse was targeted with extremely unethical paparazzi snaps exploiting the depths of her drug addiction, Bieber feels he has been demonized for “rebelling against everybody and everything, and being a normal 19-year-old.”
The former child star explained that he started to identify with the troubled British singer, who died age 27, when he watched Amy, he explained:
"I watched the Amy Winehouse documentary on the plane and I had tears in my eyes because I could see what the media was doing to her, how they were treating her. People thought it was funny to poke her when she was at rock bottom, to keep pushing her down until she had no more of herself. And that’s what they were trying to do to me."
Bieber also had a message that those who admire and envy his glamorous lifestyle should be mindful of the darker side of being a superstar, he explained:
"People see the glam and the amazing stuff, but they don’t know the other side. This life can rip you apart. [I get depressed] all the time. And I feel isolated. You’re in your hotel room and there are fans all around, paparazzi following you everywhere, and it gets intense. When you can’t go anywhere or do anything alone you get depressed. I would not wish this upon anyone."
The 21-year-old star encouraged those who judge and condemn him in the press to take a more human approach and try to think about how their harsh words really affect his life, he said:
"I just want people to know I’m human. I’m struggling just to get through the days. I think a lot of people are."
Press coverage from the past clearly haunts Bieber and he has had time to do some soul searching about just why the media was so desperate to tear him down and he believes his squeaky clean image as a child star is to blame, he said that:
"It’s because of the way the ‘Justin Bieber brand’ was portrayed. I was a wholesome pop star who was so amazing who had nice hair and a fucking image that no one could ever live up to. So when all this happened people were like, ‘Woah, let’s rip him apart.’ If you see Ghandi roll up a blunt, it’s different to seeing Ryan Gosling roll up a blunt. You wouldn’t give Ryan Gosling a hard time."
Bieber, who was plucked from obscurity aged just 13 by his manager, Scooter Braun, also revealed that essentially growing up in the spotlight stunted his sense of self and impaired his judgement of people's sometimes shady motives, he told interviewer Tom Howard that:
"I was a kid in this industry with millions of dollars, where people come into your life and wanna gain from you, and I was naïve. People take from you, lie to you and steal your trust."
Through all of the tough times, Bieber has found support in the mentorship of fellow musician, the oft-mocked Kanye West, he told interviewers that:
"Out of anyone in the industry who is creative and I see eye to eye with, he really gets me. His advice is always just, ‘make music that’s so good people can’t hate on it."
It took courage for Justin to speak out so candidly about the toxic effect that fame has had on mental health and I applaud him for opening the dialogue.