Next Gen 2011: Hollywood's Fastest-Rising Stars
"Whoever says you're too young, tell them to f-- off." In the great tradition of mouthy music managers, Braun, 30, can spew these words because he's lived them. Graduating from in-demand Atlanta party promoter to successful marketing executive at Jermaine Dupri's So So Def Records, he quickly rose up the hip-hop ranks but at age 26 was itching for more. The Greenwich, Conn.-raised Braun found it in 13-year-old Canadian Justin Bieber, whom he discovered on YouTube. Although 1,000 miles apart, the two had one thing in common: "People kept saying, 'He's too young,' " recalls Braun, who partnered with Usher to sign Bieber. "It resonated. I'd heard it before; one executive even told me to sign him over because I was too young to make it happen." Bieber's rise to superstardom is now the stuff of legend, thanks in large part to the film Never Say Never, Braun's brainchild and co-production (with Paramount) that was a $98 million hit in 2010. Throw in Bieber's endorsement deals, sold-out concerts, U.S. album sales of 4 million and the undying devotion of countless teenage girls, and you have the makings of a music mogul in Braun, who is single and has a girlfriend. His process? "I ask a lot of questions, and I study failure," says the L.A. transplant, "but my gut is my No. 1 asset."
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