"People always say, 'Did you try to get famous off YouTube?' I'm like, 'Not at all, I was just doing it for fun'"
Justin Bieber might not have sought fame, but his raw talent brought him to the attention of the music world aged just 13. Soon after his mum began posting footage of her son online, he had attracted a big online following.
Then he came to the attention of Atlanta-based music executive Scooter Braun - and his meteoric rise really began
In the space of five years, that fresh-faced teen had become the hottest star on the planet. Forbes named him the third most influential celebrity in 2012, and he has also amassed more than 35 million followers on Twitter, his devoted fans - the Beliebers.
"It's like Beatlemania," his road manager has said of Justin's dedicated supporters. "Mass hysteria. Loud screaming, crying, passing out. It's amazing."
Nevertheless, the talented youngster seems unfazed. "I'm the same kid I always was," he has said. "There's just a little more pressure."
Born on March 1, 1994 in London, Ontario, Canada, Justin Drew Bieber was raised by single mum Pattie Mallette in the small town of Stratford. From a very early age, he showed a strong interest in music and for his second birthday, his mother presented him with a drum kit - "I was basically banging on everything I could get my hands on".
The road to stardom began ten years later, in 2006, when Justin, having taught himself how to play the piano, guitar and trumpet, took part in a talent contest in his hometown. He came second. Proud Pattie uploaded the footage of her son's performance onto YouTube so friends and family could watch - but the video attracted a far bigger following.
Impressed with the young star's talent, viewers started to request songs for Justin, and his covers of songs by the likes of Justin Timberlake began to attract an online following. Then music executive Scooter Braun discovered his YouTube channel. "My gut was going crazy," he told People of that moment. "So I tracked him down".
Scooter flew Justin and his mum down to Atlanta to record demos. It didn't take long for him to catch the attention of Usher
and Justin Timberlake
who were both interested in signing up the youngster. In the end, Usher prevailed and aged just 13, Justin was signed to Def Jam records.
"His voice was so magical, and his personality was so keen," Usher said. "Sometimes he's like a little brother or a son to me".
In May 2009, Justin released his debut single, One Time
which quickly went platinum in his native Canada and reached the top twenty in five countries. His album matched that success, selling more than 137,000 copies in its first week.
Topping off a truly extraordinary twelve months for the singer, he performed in front of President Barack Obama
and First Lady Michelle
at the White House for Christmas in Washington.
The following year got off to a bang for Justin when in January he released Baby
, the lead single from My World 2.0
, the second half of his two-part debut album. The track became an international hit, and helped secure the album's place in the history books. My World 2.0
debuted at number one in the US and Justin became the youngest solo male act to top the charts since Stevie Wonder in 1963.
Since then his career has gone from strength to strength. He has released two albums, Under the Mistletoe
and the 2012 hit Believe
, and embarked on two major tours, all the while picking up more than 70 awards.
By the end of 2010, 'Bieber fever' was at an all-time high - and Justin's personal life started to generate a huge amount of attention. Fans are so fanatic that a Twitter picture of the star pictured with Kim Kardashian
sparks death threats directed at the reality star.
But after months of speculation, Justin was ready to go public his first high-profile relationship. At the 2011 Vanity Fair Oscars Party, he stepped out with Selena Gomez
, and was then pictured kissing the actress during a Caribbean holiday in St Lucia. "She's really cool. She's an amazing girl," he told MTV shortly afterwards, before adding, "I've gotta keep some things to myself."
Sadly the relationship didn't go the distance, and after two years together the high-profile couple parted ways at the end of 2012.