The R&B star, who signed the troubled teen idol when he was just 13, knows what it’s like to grow up in the spotlight and tells Nylon Guys that he’s tried to help the Canadian singer navigate his way through it all.
“I gave every bit of advice and always told him it was up to him if he really wanted this. Now that he has it, as an adult, it’s his to manage,” The Voice coach says in a cover story in the June/July issue. “Do I turn my head in shame based off of what I see, what I know? Nah, I don’t because it’s all part of life’s process. Am I in it with him? Yeah.”
Usher, who moved to N.Y.C. at the age of 15 to work with Sean “Diddy” Combs, says that mentoring young artists is important to him. “Artistic development made me who I am,” he says. “Somebody took the time to help me find what it is that works for me as an entertainer and who I am as a music maker.”
But while he’s helped to guide the 20-year-old to record sales in excess of 12 million, he’s been less successful keeping the singer and dancer out of trouble when he’s not on stage.
Over the course of this year, Bieber has been arrested for assault and DUI, been accused of vandalism and attempted robbery and earlier this week released a statement in which he apologized for making a racist joke in an old video.
“It’s unfortunate,” Usher, 35, says of the laundry list of incidents. “I hate some of the things I hear. Is it all true? I don’t know. But I will tell you this: Success comes with a price. Every person that has grown up, grows up with something. It ain’t just perfect from the beginning.”
The singer, who won the most recent season of The Voice with his contestant Josh Kaufman, also discusses his upcoming role in the Sugar Ray Leonard biopic Hands of Stone and talks about his fans’ reaction to his musical output.
“In all honesty, I give one s–––. I do hear them – that’s why I say one s–––. I do give a s–––, but not two s–––. Two s–––is a lot. I care enough to make sure they understand that I’m making it for them, but I’ve got to be true to where I am.”