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Whether or not Justin Bieber humbled return to the spotlight is genuine or not has been questioned by people during the singer’s recent comeback in the past few weeks. A recent video that showed Bieber scolding a Today director for shooting him too close up to see his dance moves helped feed the narrative criticizing the singer.
Z100 DJ Elvis Duran interviewed Bieber as the singer released his new music, and tells The Hollywood Reporter he believes Bieber is being honest and genuine about his return to the spotlight.
Duran said Bieber’s team didn’t prep the radio host “at all” prior to his big interview with Bieber, and he said nothing was “off-limits” in terms of topics. “Not one thing, not at all,” said Duran.
Their interview was pre-recorded and Duran said he would have similar conversations with Bieber in the hallways when they weren’t taping and when they were in the recording studio. A recent Page Six report claims Bieber is intentionally avoiding live interviews, insisting on pre-taping his interviews to avoid controversy. The article implies Bieber’s team is keeping him on a shorter leash to ensure his “good guy” persona remains intact.
Duran however, said many of the interviews he conducts are pre-taped and that Bieber’s team knows Duran’s show “isn‘t the kind of show that wants to corner the artist on-air.” Added Duran, “He knows he has a safe haven on our show.”
“His demeanor [while recording] was honest,” said Duran. “It was the same thing we would get when he was not on. He knew in his mind he had probably people and there were people in his life that disappointed him.”
Duran said that going forward, he doesn’t think Biber will be “making any huge mammoth apologies to anyone” but that he sees Bieber owning up to his responsibilities and channeling any disappointments and heartbreaks he has had into his future music.
“We had several years of Justin portrayed as a bad boy,” said Duran. “We took our eyes off the fact that this guy has a ton of talent. He admittedly crossed the lines many times but I knew there would come a day he would have to get back into a studio and get back to work.”
“His fans are high as a kite right now,” added the radio host. “I never thought of him as going away, I just thought of this as a new album.”
Duran said he thinks when Bieber cried at the VMAs it was a “really telling,” “great” moment. He said it seemed like Bieber was “sort of afraid” of seeing how people would react to his new music. “He’s not 100 percent sure how he’s going to be accepted and received,” said Duran. The “audience’s massive response” at the VMAs was something Bieber was likely not expecting, said Duran, echoing what Bieber has said about why he cried at the awards show.
THR spoke with Duran about Bieber’s comeback in relation to other celebrities who either took a break from music or transformed their sound. “When you do come back from whatever your hiatus is, you do need to show where you are in your life,” said Duran. “Keep in mind that your last piece of work is what people know about you.”
He pointed to artists like Lady Gaga who sometimes decide to try out a new style of music. “She’s been extremely busy doing different types of projects that may not have been impactful for her original audience,” said Duran who considers himself a “fan of original Gaga.”
“I’m dying to hear new material from her in that vein,” said Duran. “I’m ready for her comeback with some Pop Gaga.”
With Taylor Swift, Duran said we are watching “a constant evolution in her music” since she’s “constantly putting music out and never stops.”
“Rihanna was that way for a long time, and now I miss Rihanna,” said the radio host. “It’s time for some more Rihanna at some point.”
Duran also said he has liked Demi Lovato‘s “new, mature sound.” “We all know where she’s been in her life struggle, her new music has this maturity and energy where she really seems like she’s in charge.”
“We’re watching these people evolve and grow as people and they are showing that through their artistry,” said Duran.
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