Bieber Hollywood Reporter Michael Jackson 0

In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Justin Bieber says that he’s proud of the man he’s becoming, despite his recent media controversy.

“I don’t give a f—.” Elaborates Bieber: “Not ‘I don’t give a f—’ to just be reckless and do whatever, but ‘I don’t give a f— what they say.’ … I know who I am and what I’m doing in my life and what I’ve accomplished and continue to accomplish as a performer, as a writer, as an artist, as a person, as a human being. I’m happy with the man I’m becoming.”

He also talks being influenced by Black culture:

“I’m very influenced by black culture, but I don’t think of it as black or white,” he says. “It’s not me trying to act or pose in a certain way. It’s a lifestyle — like a suaveness or a swag, per se. But I don’t really like to say the word [‘swag’] anymore. It’s kind of played out.”

His manager, Scooter Braun, reveals that Will Smith is one of Justin’s current mentors:

Braun tells of a particularly tough time for Bieber around the time he returned from his world tour in May that prompted the movie star to drive to Bieber’s house and pull him out of bed for a three-hour talk. Bieber’s reaction, according to Braun: “He said, ‘Man, that makes me feel so loved. I woke up, and there’s Will Smith, one of, if not the, biggest movie stars on the planet. He took time out of his day for me.’ “

Now, Bieber and Smith have a weekly call to go over any potential issues, emotional or otherwise. (Scientology has never been discussed.) At the same time, Braun adds of Smith, “He’s telling me: ‘Justin’s got to go through it. You can’t stop him from going through it. That’s youth in itself. He’s a young man who’s growing up, and that’s what makes him interesting and relatable. Otherwise, he’d be some kind of weird robot.”

And there’s a quick moment where Justin nearly compares himself to Michael Jackson.

“Michael Jackson didn’t do Off the Wall until he was about 23,” he says of the King of Pop’s breakout 1979 solo album. “Bad, not until he was, like, 25 [Jackson was 29]. I have all the time in the world,” he declares of his future seminal third album. 

They may have song titles with similar acronyms, but that’s as far as that comparison goes in our book.

The entire interview is pretty insightful and it’s rare that we get to hear Bieber talk so candidly. Check it out over at THR.