A Letter to Justin Bieber

> Justin Beiber - Larry Busacca_post.jpg

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Dear Justin,

Congrats! Looks like My World 2.0 burned up the charts in its first week, solidifying your status as the hottest young thing in music. Releasing your second album a mere four months after your debut—My World, which produced seven Hot 100 singles—is a smart move, my friend. You seem to have a realistic understanding of the way things work around here, and you're wise to try to milk this success for as long as you can.

But why is everyone so taken with how sweeping your appeal is? The riots of screaming girls at the mall, the rabid fans stalking your hotels, the crying three-year-olds professing their love to you—this is a tale as old as time, and we can look to a few different factors that are working in your favor:

You've got street cred: Being co-signed by Usher definitely isn't a a bad start (and neither is the fact that he was in a bidding battle with Justin Timberlake over you). Snoop Dogg thinks you're "kind of cool," and Aziz Ansari's hilarious alter-ego Raaaaaaaandy has declared war on you.

The hip hop community is on your side: Ludacris raps in your video, you surprised some people with a freestyle of your own, and you've got beats by The-Dream (who crafted the Rihanna mega-hit, "Umbrella").

You're not part of the Disney machine: Thank goodness you didn't open that can of worms.

You have a tried and true hairstyle: Like Zac Efron didn't make that decision easy for you.

You've got a team of tastemakers behind you: Your manager Scooter Braun discovered rapper Asher Roth, who broke out with "I Love College" in 2009, and instantly saw your potential after seeing a few videos of you singing at school. Braun heard your silky-sweet voice and R&B tinge and saw what could be, and soon Usher hooked you up with "swagger coach" Ryan Good to put the finishing touches on your style—both in fashion and personality. With a team like that behind you, how couldn't girls throw themselves at your feet?

Interviews and articles describe your success as though this type of craziness from fans hasn't been seen before. But let's not forget all the teen idols who've been there and done that. From Michael Jackson to Donny Osmond to David Cassidy to the New Kids on the Block to the Backstreet Boys, there are many lessons to be learned from your fellow singers who found international fame and fortune all before their voices changed.

So, just in case you were getting worried about the inevitable day where singing love songs to pre-teens begins to border on the side of creepy, here are some of the more recent artists to have endured that particular transition—take notes!

The Hansons


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Who could ever forget the trio of sunny blonde kids from Tulsa that pulled America out of its dying grunge days, ushering in a new era of pop music? The three brothers that made up Hanson burst onto the scene with their pre-pubescent vocals and long hair, confusing parents and stealing the hearts of girls everywhere. Their song "MMMBop" catapulted them to international stardom, helping them reach the peak of their careers before they could even drive, and their first album, Middle of Nowhere, sold 10 million copies worldwide.

Then they began to grow up. They didn't want to be controlled by their label anymore, their voices changed, and they decided to venture into more serious territory. So, they did. On the surface, Hanson seems to have all but disappeared; however, they're actually creating some of their most critically acclaimed work and have a strong underground following now that they have redefined themselves as indie rock and folk artists. It's a classy route to take, but it helps that they understand that they'll never achieve they type of mainstream success they enjoyed as kids. Rather than struggling to maintain that type of cultural relevance, the boys have moved beyond it to focus on their music and families.

Nick Jonas


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Wasn't it just yesterday that the Jonas Brothers were the inescapable teen sensation poised to take over the world? Whereas the boy band era of the late '90s and early 2000s granted teen heartthrobs at least several years of dominance in the pop culture sphere, there's no patience left to evolve and grow alongside artists anymore. The youngest of the trio, 17-year-old Nick Jonas, may be the best person to seek advice from on this front. Starting out at the age of seven on Broadway, Nick later found international mega-fame along with his older brothers Joe and Kevin, leading the way with their own brand of sugary-sweet pop rock.

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Aylin Zafar is a freelance writer based in New York.

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