For years now—basically the duration of his whole career—Justin Bieber's hair has been a major talking point. It started as a swingy mop of hair, then this Johnny Bravo swoop thing, then he went dark brown briefly, and over the last few months, he's been growing it out and playing with platinum. He recently cut it—complete with a "Lion King"-inspired reveal—and it seems the blond may have gone with the extra length. But thanks to Hero magazine, it'll live forever in this cover feature.
Shot by Saint Laurent creative director Hedi Slimane, the images are all black-and-white and depict a much edgier Bieber than we've seen in editorials past. Think less "Baby" and more Ryan Gosling in "A Place Beyond The Pines."
His new look comes part and parcel with a new sound we'll discover on his forthcoming album, and for Bieber, it's all a part of growing up. "The biggest difference is that I'm older," Bieber tells Hero. "I was 17 when I recorded most of my last album and I'm 21 now. I've been through a lot in a public way which gives me a much different perspective on things. I am working with producers like Kanye [West] and Rick Rubin who have influenced me and the music I listen to in a big way."
The newest album also promises to be a lot more intimate. "The creative process this time around is more personal," Bieber reveals. "When was younger I would take other people’s experiences, now I have my own to draw from and it makes all the difference because it's a release. It's amazing because I'm able to really work out anything I am feeling in my music. I'm nervous whenever I put out new work because it's such a personal journey, but I try to remember music is meant to be enjoyed – so I try to roll with it."
Having been through some things his (physical) image has changed, too, a change that's seen in these photos. He's seen things, done things, been sorry for things, and it all comes through in an aesthetic that's a little rougher around the edges. At the same time, though, he's still figuring things out. (Maybe that's why he has facial hair in some of these photos and not in others?)
Either way, the images are stunning, and TBH, I'm down for more #BlondBieber in my life.
You can pre-order Hero Magazine #13 right now.