Justin Bieber is poised to become pop music's next big thing, thanks to his rabid Internet fanbase. And at 15, he's already been sought after by Justin Timberlake and Usher. Usher eventually won the label bidding war and signed the young artist, who has more than 200,000 fans following him on Twitter.
But that doesn't mean he's a household name just yet. That all could change once he steps onto the red carpet at the Video Music Awards on Sunday. So how did he make it to this point in his career?
"My manager found me on YouTube," he told MTV News. "He actually flew me out to Atlanta for the first time. I was going to the studio to meet some people."
But that initial encounter didn't work out the way he might have wanted it to. "Usher happens to roll up in his Range Rover, so I was like, 'Man, that's Usher.' So I ran up to him." Unfortunately, Usher turned down the chance to hear Justin sing right there on the spot. But the "Yeah!" singer eventually came around.
"He actually watched my videos and was like, 'Man, I should have let this kid sing,' " he said. "And he flew me back to Atlanta. I got to sing for him, and then a week later, I had a meeting with Justin Timberlake. They both kind of wanted me."
People are still competing to win Bieber's attention, but now they're the ones posting videos online. Come VMA night, the fan who posts the video Bieber likes the most will get a shout-out on the red carpet. (Want to be that person? Let us know why you're Justin Bieber's biggest fan!)
"Being able to have them all participate just makes me feel good," he said about the contest. "Having them make videos for me is awesome. I mean, without my fans, I wouldn't be here, so I definitely am thankful for my fans. You guys keep coming up with the videos. They're awesome, so just keep coming with them."
Watch the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards Preshow this Sunday, September 13, at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the big event, live at 9 p.m. Check out our interactive map of New York to see how the city is celebrating the VMAs all week long, and stay tuned for party coverage, concert reports, behind-the-scenes updates and more.