Justin Bieber and his manager Scooter Braun were at the Tribeca Film Festival on Friday (April 27) to accept the 2012 Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award for disrupting “the traditional gatekeepers of the music industry.”
Sporting a varsity jacket when he took the stage, the 18-year-old noted that a lot of what he does is a reflection of his relationship with his fans. “I don’t think that I would be here without the Internet. The fans feel connected to me,” he said, ABC News reports.
According to The Huffington Post, he recalled his early days of posting videos on YouTube under the moniker KidRauhl and how he was skittish of Braun, initially.
“He called me, and my mom was like, ’Why am I going to trust a guy named Scooter?’ ” Bieber said. “So she ignored him, and he started calling all of the places where he saw me sing in my videos. … It was some really creepy stuff. He finally found my great aunt, who I had never met before, to try and get in contact with me.”
Of those early days, Braun joked, “Either I was going to be the guy who watches videos of a young boy on the Internet and gets arrested, or I was going to sign him.”
The award seems fitting, given how much Bieber’s rise to fame has changed the way talent can be discovered via the internet, and can use technology to spread the word. “Ever since then,” Bieber said, “We’ve been taking the world by storm.”