Justin Bieber has never tried to emulate other artists with his music.
The Canadian singer was discovered on YouTube by talent manager Scooter Braun and has since become a sensation, occupying the top three spots of the British singles chart with hits Love Yourself, Sorry and What Do You Mean in January (16). While many up-and-coming singers try to imitate their idols, Bieber, 21, wanted a unique sound.
"I just loved to sing and work on my music," he recalled to Britain's OK! magazine. "I didn't try to copy anyone. I loved Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder and I looked up to what Usher and Justin Timberlake achieved when they were young and then went on to have even bigger careers later. That's the kind of career I'd like to have."
Bieber's dreams came true after Scooter took notice of him. Not long after he was discovered, his idols were clamouring to work with him.
"A week later (after meeting Scooter) we got a call from Scooter, who said Usher had seen my videos and was impressed," Bieber recalled. "In the meantime Justin's (Timberlake) management had got in touch with us. Usher and Justin were great guys and the situations were unique."
It might come as a surprise to fans that Bieber never aimed for fame. Rather than chase the dream, things just fell into place naturally.
"Singing was just another hobby," he shrugged. "Music was something that I loved and knew that I was good at. That's what I still want it to be all about. I want to be a real artist. I want my music to be respected and that's what people should talk about rather than some of the stupid things I've done."
Bieber has had several run-ins with the law, including egging a neighbour's home and driving without a licence.