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Justin Bieber was signed to Island Def Jam Records at the age of 14.
Justin Bieber was signed to Island Def Jam Records at the age of 14.

Justin Bieber, the teenage star taking the pop world by

The 16-year-old shot to fame after his mother posted videos online to show relatives his talent.

Cody, three, loves Justin Bieber. In fact, she loves him so much that a video of the toddler sobbing her poor little heart out, such is her pain at believing she will never get to meet the man of her dreams, has subsequently been seen by more than six million people on YouTube. The five-foot-four (and still growing) Justin Bieber has become the biggest pop phenomenon of the year, responsible for capturing, and breaking, the hearts of many a young girl.

The 16-year-old Bieber has already been described as the Donny Osmond of the internet age, with his YouTube seeing some of his videos get more than 70 million views, and with thousands upon thousands of fans signing up to catch his regular video updates. Add to this a recent appearance on the hugely popular comedy show Saturday Night Live (in which the regular contributor Tina Fey falls prey to his cheeky charms) and a mass takeover of the celebrity website Funny or Die, and you wouldn't be incorrect to assume that Bieber fever is taking over the world, one over-excited teenager at a time.

But just who is this child prodigy the kids are waxing (OK, screaming) lyrical about and where did he come from? Brought up in a single-parent household in Canada, Bieber taught himself how to play the guitar, piano, drums and trumpet by the age of 13. After he also came second in a local singing competition in 2007, Bieber's mother, Patti, started posting YouTube videos of her son covering R&B classics so that his relatives abroad could check out his talent for themselves.

Word of his prodigious talent soon spread across the net, with the teenager's videos amassing a wide following. Soon after that, Bieber came to the attention of the music business insider Scott "Scooter" Braun, who would go on to be his manager. Braun - who had initially worked as a marketing executive for So So Def Recordings - flew Bieber and his mother to Atlanta in 2008 to meet the R&B singer Usher and decide the course of his future career.

Shortly after singing for Usher, Bieber was sent to the supremo at Island Def Jam Records, Antonio "LA" Reid, for an audition and was signed to the label almost immediately. And at an age when most boys would have been busy ignoring girls and being glued to a computer screen, Bieber, now 14, was hard at work on his debut album, My World. Released in November 2009, the album was certified platinum in the US and Canada, as well as achieving excellent sales (more than 60,000) in the UK.

Numerous guest slots on popular television programmes such as The Today Show and The Ellen DeGeneres Show soon followed, further cementing Bieber's status as a teenage heart throb. And as if captivating the souls of thousands of girls across the world wasn't enough, Bieber was also indirectly responsible for the first arrest relating to a Twitter account. Scooter Braun and the Island Def Jam Records vice-president James Roppo were arrested over reckless endangerment after they failed to tweet a cancellation notice about an event at a clothing store at which Bieber was scheduled to be signing autographs (which was advertised on Twitter earlier this year) despite the event becoming overrun with completely hysterical teenage girls.

The event was eventually called off after Roppo instructed Braun to send out the tweet and the charges were dropped. After the success of his first album, Bieber's ascent to the top met few obstacles. His sophomore release, My World 2.0 (really thinking out of the box with that one, eh Beeb?), was an even bigger hit than its predecessor. The album's success, debuting at No1 on the Billboard 200, made him the youngest male artist to top the charts since Stevie Wonder in 1963.

Add that to his record for the highest number of hits to chart in the Billboard Top 100 (seven) and a bona fide superstar was born. As for Cody? Turns out that she got to meet her sweetheart after all. Having melted the heart of the US talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, the toddler was invited on to the show a few weeks ago where she met her Canuck cutie. And this time she managed to hold back the tears.

With the news that Bieber's whirlwind journey to the top is to be turned into a feature film, it looks like nothing can stop this diminutive singer from continuing in his bid for world domination. Unless he gets a bad case of acne, that is.

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