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“We don’t have time to be sad,” Braun said Wednesday in a Q&A session with Billboard news director Shirley Halperin at the Billboard Touring & Conference Awards, held at the SLS Hotel in Los Angeles. “We have to heal as fast as we can and come together.” Still, he said, it was “very surreal” watching the results.
As a country, Braun said, “We are stuck with the decision we made,” but he plans to support the new president, who still “has a lot of people he has to win over.” He added that he hopes that Trump will be a president for everyone, and supporters must be willing to “cross lines and embrace everybody.”
“I just don’t want any females who weren’t for him but were for Hillary not to get discouraged and think they are not wanted or my Mexican-American friends explain to their children what happened and that they are not wanted,” said Braun. “I don’t want anyone who is Muslim not to be able to dream that they can be President of the United States, and I don’t want any of my friends regardless of their orientation thinking they are less of a citizen.”
Despite the result of last night’s election, Braun said Americans can still be happy to wake up “in the morning and be in this country.”
“We have been through worse, and we’ll get through this,” he said. “You know, my dad was a refugee, and I still have my very firm beliefs of what this country is, and I was raised that when you get knocked down, you get back up and fight harder.”
Returning to the topic later in the talk, Braun joked of the former Celebrity Apprentice host: “He did fire Coolio, and now he’s our president.”
Braun is set to be honored Wednesday night as the recipient of the Humanitarian Award at the Billboard Touring Conference Awards for his work with Make-A-Wish, Pencils for Promise and F— Cancer. He added that the result of the election motivates him to concentrate on philanthropy even more. “I am going to be more dedicated to policy and helping people than ever before,” he promised.
While Braun said the election was more important than talking about “how many sweatshirts we sold on the Saint Pablo Tour,” there was plenty to cover in the hourlong discussion about his role as a manager to Bieber, West and Grande. “My job is making irrational people do rational things,” he said, saying honesty, transparency and even having “a full-on argument” over decisions are all necessary factors in artist relations. “I think your artists will respect you more.”
Braun’s job also includes overseeing what Halperin described as a “tale of two tours,” with Bieber’s Purpose tour grossing $139 million as of Oct. 30, while West’s Saint Pablo tour earned $1.6 million a night over the course of six nights.
While Bieber created an intimate experience for fans by merely performing “sexier songs” by himself onstage, West brought his performance directly to every inch of the venue with his own vision to “fly the entire show.”
“After the first show, we realized he never needs to come down,” Braun said, explaining that West as an artist is interested in giving fans a VIP experience no matter where they are in the audience.
Braun was candid discussing Bieber’s decision to cancel meet-and-greets prior to performances on his Purpose tour, resulting in a loss of $21 million, but in the end the performer’s mental health was more important. “[Bieber] had a rough two years,” he said. “He was suffering and he wasn’t healthy.”
While Braun said he got “a lot of credit” for getting the troubled entertainer back on track, he said it was really Bieber who made the decision to change on his own. At the beginning of the tour, Bieber wanted to do the meet-and-greets because he wanted to assuage his fans, but that after a while, it got too intense. “One hundred or two hundred people, they come in and look at him like he’s some sort of God saying, ”You saved me,'” said Braun. “He is giving all of himself before he hits the stage. He came to me and said, ‘Being healthy is great, but I have now found my boundaries, and I suffer from anxiety. I can’t do this anymore.’
“We aren’t made to be worshipped as humans,” Braun continued. “I think that is why we see so many great artists crumble, because as humans we are made to serve each other. None of us are made to be worshipped, and when we take that in, we get sick. We are very lucky that Justin identified that early, and he is in a place now where he’s created his space with boundaries so he can keep doing what he does, and he loves his fans.”
Braun advises future managers not to expect to always be appreciated by the artists they represent. “That’s the job,” he said. “If you sign up for it, don’t expect to be appreciated. If you want to be appreciated, call your mom. Your job is to go above and beyond for them, and if they don’t reciprocate, tough luck, and if they do, it’s a beautiful thing and take it in when it happens.”
This article originally appeared on Billboard.com.
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