Justin Bieber: 'With Time Off, I'm Able to Think, Pray and Grow Up' (Exclusive)

12:28 PM PST 07/20/2011 by Shirley Halperin
D Dipasupil/Getty Images

In his first one-on-one interview since taking a break, the pop phenom reveals to THR how he’s been spending his time. Plus, his thoughts on the record-breaking success of fragrance “Someday.”

Justin Bieber has seen more than his share of firsts in the last couple of years: he was the first artist to hit half a billion views on YouTube, the first -- and youngest -- performer to chart seven singles on the Billboard Hot 100, all from a debut album, and, most recently, the first male celebrity (who’s not a fashion designer) to release a woman’s perfume.

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And like all things Bieber, Someday is on track to be the biggest fragrance launch ever, with sales topping $30 million, and a portion of the proceeds earmarked for two charities of Bieber’s choosing -- Pencils of Promise, founded by Adam Braun (brother of Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun) and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Bieber tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I thought it would be successful because it’s a good smell, no matter what, but to be the number one fragrance? That’s amazing.” Indeed, according to Give Back Brands, which manufactured the scent, some of its partner retailers, which include Macy’s, Sephora and Lord & Taylor, are struggling to keep Someday in stock.

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Equally incredible is how involved Bieber was in the production process of the fragrance. Give Back president Robert Hollander says he, for one, was thoroughly impressed: “Justin was incredibly hands-on. From the design of the bottle to the name, every decision that had to be made, he was involved in.”

And, of course, there was the scent itself. To come up with the “fruity gourmand” flavor, Bieber says he sampled other celebrity perfumes. “I tried Britney’s fragrance and a couple others, but I wanted to make something that was my own… I know what I like on a girl and I care more about what a female smells like than a man, so I didn’t really think it was right for me to do a cologne.” (Worth noting: he doesn't rule out a future men's scent.)

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Besides, adds Bieber, the purpose of Someday was to give back. “When I was on tour last summer, I had Make-A-Wish in most cities,” he says. “For so many people, their wish was to meet me, and when they did, they were so hopeful and that’s a great feeling. I just wanted to help as many people as I could.”

As for Pencils of Promise, Bieber takes great pride in mobilizing his fanbase to make even the smallest of donations, as the charity’s name encourages. “It’s about encouraging young people to help other young people,” he says. “I try to motivate my fans to make a difference as much as they can.”

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The directive clearly worked on June 23, when Bieber introduced Someday at Macy’s Herald Square in New York to crowds that numbered in the hundreds. “I’m old enough to remember The Beatles in Shea Stadium and I got the same feeling that day,” says Give Back’s Hollander. “The noise was deafening.”

The team considered holding the launch in Times Square, but Hollander says they opted for a more intimate event “so that people could really get a chance to see Justin.” Still, Hollander assures, "There was an enormous amount of security."

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So when will fans see Bieber next? The 17-year-old is soon to start work on his second full-length studio album, the follow-up to 2010’s My World 2.0, but for now, Bieber is taking a breather (when he’s not crashing weddings with his girlfriend Selena Gomez). “I’ve been working so hard, I’m taking a month off,” he says. “It’s been great to just think and enjoy hanging out with my friends. I’m still growing up, and when you’re working every day, you don’t really get a chance to figure out who you are. So with the time off, I’m able to think, pray and just kind of grow up.”

And rest? “For sure," he says. "I’ve been sleeping in a lot.”

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