A crisp fall day. Usher, on tour in the exotic Great White North, trots carefree through a forest of Molson’s trees as vouchers for free healthcare drift lazily by on the breeze. Something on the ground catches the Under Siege 2 star’s eye. There, nestled beneath the leaf of a Canadian maple, is the little lad he was destined to find: A babbling baby boy, scribbling puckishly on himself with a tattoo gun. “I shall call you Justin Bieber,” Usher says, lifting the impish tyke aloft. “Now come. Let us lease you to the Disney Channel.”
Or something like that. For his part, Usher has been enthusiastic about describing his relationship with Bieber as familial, even paternal. But did he discover the Canadian pop sensation? And if so, is there a chance that he’ll have to return Bieber to his real family in a heartbreaking, end-of-Gone Baby Gone epilogue to this tragic tale?
Usher’s part in Justin Bieber’s success, explained
The good news is, Usher did not discover Justin Bieber, in an enchanted maple syrup grove or anywhere else, and will therefore not be held responsible by the Canadian government when they come to take him back. Or, in simpler terms, he was not the one to notice “Baby” singer had the potential for massive success.
He was, however, instrumental in Bieber’s rise to fame. Bieber was “discovered” at just 13 years old by Scott “Scooter” Braun, an entrepreneur and 36%-tooth-whitener-by-volume talent manager who’s had a hand in the careers of Ariana Grande, Kanye West, and Demi Lovato. Braun found Bieber on YouTube and brought him to Usher’s attention. Usher knows quality when he sees it – that’s why he said “yes” when he was asked to appear in Under Siege 2 – and according to Parade Magazine, he decided to sign the young crooner on the spot.
The results speak for themselves. In the roughly 17 years since Bieber’s discovery, he’s become one of the most ubiquitous performers on the international stage, single-handedly convincing an entire generation of young men to wear their bangs as a sort of protective barrier between the top 2/3rds of their faces and the elements.
He and Usher remain close friends, with a professional and personal relationship that had many convinced that Bieber would make a surprise appearance during Usher’s 2024 Super Bowl halftime show. Let that be a lesson to all of us: You don’t need to pick up loose infants off the ground in Winnipeg to create a worldwide pop phenomenon. You can just ask your buddy Scooter to bring you a kid instead.