Pop star Justin Bieber collapsed during a performance at London’s O2 Arena last week (March 7), requiring medical attention and a brief hospital stay. During his hospital stopover, the Biebs assured fans that he was rebounding… by posting a topless selfie on Instagram with the message, “Gettin’ better listening to Janice Joplin.”
While Bieber’s misspelling of Joplin’s first name inadvertently crushed the website of San Antonio artist Janice Joplin, the fact that he was self-medicating with the tortured, soulful sounds of the late singer, who died of a drug overdose in 1970 at the age of 27 is very telling. Given the tumultuous year 2013 has been for Bieber thus far (or so he says), perhaps the 19-year-old could learn something from Janis Joplin’s tragic demise at such a young age.
1. Go Your Own Way
Growing up in Texas, kids made fun of Janis Joplin in part because of her love for African-American artists like Billie Holliday and Big Mama Thornton. But it was that pursuit of creating authentic blues music that lead to Joplin’s original style, making her a premier artist of her time. Similarly, Bieber’s R&B-informed pop could pave the way for a long and illustrious career.
2. Express Yourself, i.e. Swag It Out
Much like Joplin’s notoriously outlandish fashion sense (that hair, girl), Bieber has been criticized for his more flamboyant style choices, from studded baseball caps to his penchant for drop-crotch harem pants favored by Lil Wayne. Teetering between fashion forward and fashion victim, Bieber’s still-developing style may not always please the critics, but the fans understand that he’s just doing him. Swag.
- Scott Sterling, Radio.com