Justin Bieber’s long time producer Poo Bear, who has worked with him on hits like ‘What Do You Mean,’ ‘Purpose’ and ‘Despacito,” calls the 26-year-old pop star’s vow to help fight racial injustice extremely “vulnerable.”
“I think Justin’s statement was the most real, honest and vulnerable statement I’ve ever heard from any artist in my entire life,” Poo Bear exclusively told ET Canada. “I’m 40 years old and I’ve never heard an artist say those words that boldly.”
In case you missed it, the Canadian singer, who was mentored by Usher from an early age of 13, posted a short statement on Instagram explaining how he and his career have “benefited off of black culture.”
“My style, how I sing, dance, perform, and my fashion have all been influenced and inspired by black culture. I am committed to using my platform from this day forward to learn, to speak up about racial injustice and systemic oppression, and to identify ways to be a part of much-needed change,” Bieber wrote.
Shortly after Poo Bear saw his colleague and friend’s post on his feed, he gave him a call for a more in depth conversation.
“We’re in an era of social media where there’s hundreds of millions of people that see his messages, so it’s so amazing for him to be that honest. It shows you how he doesn’t care about other people’s opinions on the topic,” Poo Bear continued. “What he said goes without saying, but for him to actually say it… I feel like that separates him from every other artist, hands down.”
Since Bieber is using his platform for positive change, Poo Bear hopes that executives at every record label follow suit. And if they’re unsure where to start, Poo Bear suggests dropping genre titles.
“Standards just need to be re-evaluated,” he said. “You can call a track urban music, but the second it goes number one, they start calling it pop. What really defines these terms? Urban music is black music, but we should just call it music.”
“For example, ‘Despacito’ broke ground, but what genre do you put that in? It’s simply just great music,” Poo Bear continued. “It’s cool to have that urban title and have something that we can say is ours, but the second it becomes popular, it’s no longer urban, so let’s just all be on the same playing field and call it great music.”
While Justin Bieber is unsure when he’ll get back on the road for his upcoming Changes tour, he does know who he wants to join him as his opening act.
“Honestly, opening up for him on tour was something that I would joke around with him about like, ‘Hey, I’m in the gym and lifting weights, I’m ready to open for you,’” Poo Bear said. “It never got confirmed all the way because he just verbally committed, but Justin did agree to it.”
Poo Bear recalls Bieber being extremely vocal about wanting to reconnect with his fans, considering he hasn’t been on the road since he cancelled the last 14 shows of his ‘Purpose’ tour in 2017 due to “unforeseen circumstances.”
“Justin really missed performing and connecting with his fans so he was going off on his own to get ready for this tour before rehearsals were even scheduled,” he said. “So to be that excited to start rehearsing, you know he really misses his fans and that energy that he felt. Hopefully, we’ll get back to some state of normal soon and he can pick up where he left off.”
It was only three months ago when Bieber was forced to postpone his Changes tour due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
“In light of the current public health crisis, and with the deepest concern for all those being affected, Justin Bieber will be postponing all currently scheduled 2020 dates for the ‘Changes’ tour,” a statement published by Variety read. “While Justin — along with his band, dancers and crew — has been hard at work preparing an amazing show, he has always put the health and well-being of his fans first and foremost. Justin is anxiously awaiting the opportunity to get back on the road.”
Poo Bear responded to the announcement by telling ET Canada that he and Bieber both trust that “God always has a plan and therefore everything is going to be okay.”
In the meantime, the duo have been hard at work during quarantine already creating around “13 to 15 new tracks.”
“We’re staying creative and working and keeping our relationships healthy since we’re both married,” Poo Bear said. “He’s always challenging me. I constantly feel like I’m auditioning for him when I go in the studio and send him ideas. I love it. He’s the greatest human with the greatest spirit.”