November 21st, 2013
03:14 PM ET
It's not that Justin Bieber doesn't hear his critics - it's just that he doesn't care.
"I don't give a f***," Bieber plaintively tells The Hollywood Reporter in its November 29 issue, joining a chorus that's currently being led by his pal, Miley Cyrus. "Not 'I don't give a f***' to just be reckless and do whatever, but 'I don't give a f*** what they say.'"
At 19 years of age, the teen pop star who's grown up in the spotlight assures THR that he knows precisely "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."
It's obvious to anyone who's given his recent songs half a listen that Bieber has taken a sharp and intentional turn toward R&B-territory, making it no surprise that he aspires to cultivate "a modern Boyz II Men sound."
"I'm very influenced by black culture, but I don't think of it as black or white," Biebs 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."
To that end, Bieber no longer seems to have a "swagger" coach, but he does still have a number of very famous - and pretty worried - mentors.
This year has been nothing but one unfortunate and/or ridiculous incident after another, and celebs like Oprah Winfrey, Adam Levine, Mark Wahlberg and Eminem have reached out to Bieber's manager, Scooter Braun, offering to talk with the 19-year-old. To hear Braun tell it, even Drake has stepped into the role of an older sibling.
"He'll text me, like, 'What the hell is going with this? I'm pissed,'" Braun recounts to THR. "'I'm calling him right now. I'm about to go in on him.' Drake is like a big brother to Justin. And Justin really looks up to Drake. They have an extremely special relationship."
But it turns out it's actor Will Smith, whose younger son Jaden is a friend of Bieber's, that mentors the singer on a weekly basis.
"He's telling me: 'Justin's got to go through it. You can't stop him from going through it,'" Braun says of Smith. "'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.'"
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