His story is history. Justin Bieber does not hold back in episode 1 of his 10-part YouTube docuseries, Justin Bieber: Seasons, which premiered on Monday, January 27.
The episode begins with clips of the Grammy winner, now 25, announcing his Purpose world tour on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in November 2015 and returning the following year to announce additional dates at U.S. stadiums. It then cuts to news footage from July 2017 after he canceled the final 14 shows due to depression.
“I remember the day where he said he didn’t want to keep going, and it was a very tough one,” Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, recalls. “He just wanted to get away and feel normal and needed a break from it all.”
The “Love Yourself” singer then appears in front of the camera and reflects upon his personal struggles, which stemmed in part from growing up in the spotlight.
“I think that being human is challenging for everybody,” he says. “I think that we’re all struggling to some degree. We all have our individual pains and fears and anxieties, worries.”
Those struggles are something that Bieber’s wife, Hailey Bieber (née Baldwin), knows all too well.
“Starting out as a boy in front of the entire world and then transforming into a young adult, a teenager and then a young man, everybody’s had to watch him go through every single phase of life essentially from, I don’t know, 14 or 15, and now he’s really an adult,” she points out. “He has gone through so much in the last three years, four years since his last album came out. He came out on the other side of some really dark times. He still is who he is and that’s why people are drawn to him, because he has a story to tell.”
The premiere follows Justin and Hailey, 23, around Stratford, Ontario, as he shows her where he grew up. The entertainer takes the model to the Avon Theatre, where he used to busk, as well as his childhood apartment and the school where he “jumped the fence one time and got suspended.”
After a few nostalgic moments, members of Justin’s team bring viewers back to present day, explaining that the turning point in his battle with depression came in April 2019 when Ariana Grande invited him to perform a song during her headlining set at the Coachella music festival.
“He was like, ‘I think I’m ready to do this again. I think I need to do this again,’” longtime friend and collaborator Ryan Good says. “As we were walking off stage, he said that to Allison [Kaye, president of Braun’s entertainment company, SB Projects]. He said, ‘I need to get back out here.’”
The end of the episode finds Justin sitting in front of the camera and explaining how his life has changed for the better since the end of his Purpose tour.
“I think what’s been challenging over the years is a lot of the times I’d make music and it would be for me. When the focus and the goal is about yourself, you kind of tend to lose your purpose in that,” he says. “I think the older that I get the more I realize that I’m not utilizing my gift, I feel, for the right reasons. It’s not about me, it’s about helping someone who’s going through whatever they’re going through, and being able to talk about that thing. I think that’s a really cool way to look at what I do.”