Scott (Scooter) Braun doesn’t mind that people give Usher credit for discovering Justin Bieber.
“It’s a huge misconception, but to be honest, a large part of that discovery story I created because I knew no one wants to hear about me because no one knows who I am,” says Braun, who manages the 16-year-old pop star.
That’s beginning to change. As Bieber’s following continues to grow (Bieber’s first studio album, “My World 2.0,” was certified platinum in less than two months), so does Braun’s name.
In 2007, while researching another artist, Braun came across musicvideos Bieber had posted on YouTube.
“My gut went absolutely crazy. I said, ‘This is the kid I’ve been looking for,’ ” recalls Braun, a former marketing exec for So So Def Recordings.
After tracking down Bieber in Canada, Braun convinced the minor’s mother to let him fly the would-be megastar to Atlanta, where he introduced Bieber to Usher. After creating more YouTube videos and building up his online presence, Braun started scheduling meetings with labels.
“No one wanted him,” he remembers. “They all wanted to do a development deal, but no one wanted to step up. They were afraid because no one from YouTube had ever worked, let alone a minor, without Nickelodeon or Disney.”
Finally, in late 2008, Bieber signed with L.A. Reid’s Island Records. In November, his debut release “My World” made Bieber the first artist to have seven songs from a first album on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Now it’s all about transition and making sure (Bieber’s success) continues, as well as making people understand how truly talented he really is,” says Braun, who doubles as Bieber’s protective big brother on the road.