Real Beliebers are confused by your sudden Justin Bieber obsession
‘We stood by him through everything – all his mistakes’
Of all the fanbases in the world, Justin Bieber’s are by far the most well-known.
Through paparazzi scuffles and drag racing arrests, Justin’s fiercely loyal Beliebers have stuck with him – and have taken a lot of flak because of it.
But then everything changed: thanks to an image change and a succession of chart bangers, by the end of 2015 it suddenly wasn’t just teenage girls listening to Justin Bieber anymore.
So what does this mean for his long-term followers? With Justin’s coveted Purpose tour tickets going on sale on Thursday, a quick search of Twitter shows a fanbase in turmoil.
Angry tweets aside, I decided to ask some of the UK’s most prolific Beliebers to find out how they really feel about the Bieber renaissance.
One of my first ports of call was the JustinBieberCrew.com account, which boasts over 350,000 followers. The site’s founder is 18-year-old Lauren Porteous, from Newcastle, who sees the new influx of Bieber attention as a good thing.
Lauren says: “I love seeing new people become fans and enjoy his music the way I have for the past few years.
“Although Justin’s musical direction has changed, I’ve loved each and every song which has been released so far. His classics will never get old and I never tire of hearing them. I became a fan because of his old music, and I am still a fan because of his new music.
“Having a larger fanbase is going to do him nothing but wonders – especially when it comes to the sales, which are crucial to a successful album.
“My mam, cousins and auntie have also changed their views on Justin this past year, which has given me such a buzz of excitement.”
Lauren has been a fan of Justin since the beginning, and her personal @BieberJiebers fan page (which has been going since 2010) has almost 40,000 followers to show for it.
Despite her long-time allegiance, Lauren says she wouldn’t hold it against the new fans if she missed out on tickets. She says: “Anybody purchasing tickets and spending their money on tickets are genuine fans, in my opinion.
“Perceptions on Justin have changed significantly due to a change in his music style and direction. My auntie and little cousins have started to become fans this year and I think it is wonderful. They’ve even asked me to join them on one of the London Purpose Tour shows!
“Obviously I would be upset if I missed out on tickets – who wouldn’t? – but I think saying that it’s due to ‘not genuine fans’ would be unreasonable.”
Vedika Savania, a long-time Belieber who now works in finance, believes Justin’s style has merely aged with his fans.
She says: “As his music’s changed the demographic of his listeners has as well. Some would say it’s inevitable, but I think it actually must be super hard to achieve once you’ve positioned yourself as a ‘teen girl’ icon to now gain popularity from boys aged 20+.
“I think there’s just generally been an upwards shift, as now girls aged 12 probably won’t really get the vibe and also his public perception isn’t so angelic as it was back in the day, so he may be slightly less appealing to them.
“The Purpose tour will be solely his recent stuff so they have every right to go as that’s the portion that they are now into – plus I am 170 per cent going to get tickets so it will be such a non-issue.
“But it is weird that all the people who have been like ‘Ved, let’s get tickets!’ have all been 19-to-22-year-old boys so far!”
However not all of Bieber’s male fans are newbies – Durham third year Charles White has been there since day one.
Charles, who used to keep his Justin obsession a secret from his judgemental friends, thinks it’s too late for Justin’s new disciples to say sorry: “I hate it because I always knew he was a good boy. He was always talking about God and he was like besties with Ellen.
“I knew he was a great kid, just misguided – and now everyone’s like ‘he’s changed’, but in reality they just haven’t had the ears to listen.
“They should either appreciate the pop magic of Never Say Never or just fuck off back to whatever hell of non-Poptastic world they came from.”
Eloise, who in her spare time runs the intimidating-sounding @BiebersMilitary, shares Charles’ anger: “I’m so mad about people who used to hate him who now claim they’re his biggest fans, because most of them took the piss out of all of us.
“I’ve supported Justin since December 2009,I’ve seen him live three times, I’ve waited outside his hotels before even though unfortunately I’ve never met him. I have all the merch you can imagine: CDs, DVDs, bed covers, posters, perfume, jewellery, teddies, clothing – even a life-size cardboard cut out.
“Now people who hated him last month are buying meet and greet tickets to his tour which any Belieber who’s been here for five or six years would die for. I love that people are finally recognising his talent because he’s amazing but I’m fed up of people who used to take the mick claiming their now Beliebers because they like a couple of his songs.”
Like many of her fellow fans, Eloise worries that Justin’s newfound popularity may hamper her chances of getting tickets.
“I’d be so, so upset if these new fans got tour tickets and I didn’t,” she says: “I’ve supported him for six years and I feel I deserve to see him so much more than fake fans do.
“We’ve stood by him through everything, all his mistakes – and they think it’s all cool to come in when he’s happy and on the right track again.”