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Sounding OFF: Why Bieber’s Break From Music Is A Good Thing

Sounding OFF is Salute Magazine’s new weekly music column, authored by Music Editor Daniel Offner. The column is a weekly analysis of all things music. This week’s column looks at how Bieber’s decision to take some time off may be just what he needs. 

There is a tendency for younger, more impressionable musicians to get caught up in the extravagance of being a celebrity, so much so, that it eventually leads them to spiral out of control, causing self-destructive tendencies and even leading to dangerous and possibly criminal acts, which could potentially stymie any hopes of an artist’s success.

Pop singer Justin Bieber, 23, knows all too well the hazards of fame and fortune, after taking Miami police on a wild ride around the city, back in 2014. Biebs was at the wheel of a rented Lamborghini when authorities apprehended the musician, who reportedly confessed to the consumption of drugs and alcohol and cursed at cops while resisting arrest.

According to NBC 6, authorities determined that Bieber’s blood alcohol level was below .08, the legal limit in Florida, however, he was unable to pass a field sobriety test at the scene. Bieber was able to post bail and was released from jail before jumping on top of a Cadillac Escalade and waving to the crowd.

More than three years later and we are now starting to see the 23-year-old recording artist singing a different tune. Bieber announced, earlier this week, that he would be canceling the remainder of his Purpose World Tour. There were roughly 14 shows left on the tour when the “Sorry” singer made the announcement.

“Due to unforeseen circumstances, Justin Bieber will cancel the remainder of the Purpose World Tour concerts,” concert promoters with AEG Presents, said on his website. “Justin loves his fans and hates to disappoint them. He thanks his fans for the incredible experience of the Purpose World Tour over the last 18 months. He is grateful and honored to have shared that experience with his cast and crew for over 150 successful shows across six continents during this run. However, after careful consideration, he has decided he will not be performing any further dates. Tickets will be refunded at point of purchase.”

The abrupt announcement led many to speculate whether his decision to cancel the remainder of his Purpose World Tour was somehow influenced by his blossoming relationship with Hillsong Church Pastor Carl Lentz. However, according to TMZ, Lentz did not advocate Biebs cancel his world tour, suggesting it was a decision he arrived at through his own spiritual soul-searching.

Bieber quickly dispelled any rumors with a statement posted on Instagram, stating how he wanted to take some time away from the tour to focus on making his musical career “sustainable.”

“I’m so grateful for this journey with all of you. I am grateful for the tours, but most of all, I am grateful I get to go through this life WITH YOU! Learning and growing hasn’t always been easy, but knowing I’m not alone has kept me going. I have let my insecurities get the best of me at times. I let my broken relationships dictate the way I acted toward people and the way I treated them! I let bitterness, jealousy, and fear run my life. I am extremely blessed to have people in the past few years, help me build my character back up, reminding me of who I am and who I want to be! Reminding me my past decisions and past relationships don’t dictate my future decision and my future relationships,” Bieber said in his Instagram confessional. “I’m very aware I’m never gonna be perfect and I’m gonna keep making mistakes, but what I’m not gonna do is let my past dictate my future. What I’m not gonna do is be ashamed of my mistakes. I wanna be a man that learns from them and grows from them. I want you all to know this tour has been unbelievable and has taught me so much about myself. I am reminded of how blessed I am to have a voice in this world. I’ve learned the more you appreciate your calling, the more you want to protect your calling. Me, taking this time right now, is me saying I want to be SUSTAINABLE. I want my career to be sustainable, but I also want my mind, heart, and soul to be sustainable so that I can be the man I want to be, the husband I eventually want to be and the father I want to be. This message is just an opportunity for you to know my heart. I’m not expecting anyone to understand, but I do want people to have an opportunity to know where I am coming from.”

A post shared by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on

Clearly, this is a sign that much like his music, Bieber, himself, has matured a great deal since the days of his high-speed antics through Miami Beach. We only wish that other artists who have been struggling with living life close to the edge would take a similar “mental health break,” to focus on themselves instead of forcing a performance.

And Bieber is not the only young artist to have experienced a meltdown at such an early stage. Here are five other noteworthy musical meltdowns:

Amy Winehouse 

The “You Know I’m No Good” singer-songwriter canceled her European Tour in 2011, after getting booed off stage in the Serbian city of Belgrade. According to Rolling Stone, the late GRAMMY Award-Winning songstress showed up to the show an hour late, stumbled around the stage, clashed with bandmates, slurred her words while attempting to sing and tossed a shoe into the audience.

Green Day

Green Day frontman Billy Joe Armstrong threw a temper tantrum on-stage after the band was told they had a minute left in their performance. “I’ve been around since fucking nineteen eighty fucking eight, and you’re gonna give me one minute? You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me! I’m not fucking Justin Bieber, you motherfuckers!”

According to Huffington Post, the next day, Armstrong checked himself into rehab for substance abuse.

Fiona Apple

Back in 2000, while playing to a sold-out crowd at New York City’s Roseland Ballroom, Apple unraveled on stage before breaking down into tears and storming off stage only 40-minutes into her set. “I could write another album in the next two months and be right back out there, or I could never write again,” Apple told Rolling Stone in 2006.

This was not Apple’s first public unraveling. In 1997, fearing that she was on the verge of becoming a “sell-out” and popular for the wrong reasons, went on live television and told thousands of viewers, in a memorable acceptance speech, that “this world is bullshit.”

Aaron Carter

The former teen pop icon was arrested last month after another motorist called 9-1-1 to report Carter’s erratic driving. According to the Associated Press, Carter was arrested for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. He was later released on bail.

Carter, in an attempt to dispell any notion of problems with drugs or alcohol, told Entertainment Tonight, that police approached him because someone had called to say he was swerving all over the road, but that it was just that the alignment on his new tire was off. Carter was apprehended by police after stopping at a nearby AutoZone for repairs. Because of the incident, he was forced to cancel his performance in Kansas City, that evening.

Ne-Yo

Back in 2009, the R&B singer was performing in Manchester, England, when he suddenly burst into tears on-stage before walking off-stage mid-show. According to BBC Radio 1, he blamed the meltdown on a sinus infection and not having had a holiday in a few years.

Perhaps he could have taken a page from the Bieb’s book?

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