It was announced this week that 16 year old pop star Justin Bieber will be writing a memoir about his life and will star in a 3D movie about himself.
Enjoy it while you can, kid.
It's too soon to tell whether he will be a star when he becomes an adult, but the odds are against him.
For every Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Justin Timberlake, Drew Barrymore, and Jodie Foster, who were able to achieve stardom throughout their lives, there are hundreds of child and teen stars who fizzled out-David Cassidy, Shaun Cassidy, Bobby Sherman, Debbie Gibson, Leif Garrett, Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block, Aaron Carter, Bay City Rollers, Hanson, Fabian, Menudo, Macaulay Culkin, Corey Haim, Dustin Diamond, Haley Joel Osment, Gary Coleman, the Brady Bunch Kids, etc. Has anyone seen Justin Guarini lately?
Bieber seems like he's fairly grounded and level headed, but the odds of long term success are still against him. Now he sells out 20,000 seat stadiums to see him lip sync his songs, but there's a decent chance that 40 years from now Bieber fever will become the sniffles, and he'll be playing in front of 500 people in casino lounges and free outdoor concerts. Don't laugh -- David Cassidy, the former Partridge Family teen idol who had Beatle-like popularity in the early 1970s, played a free outdoor concert last year in Bensalem, Pa. Leif Garrett, the former '70s teen star, has had a history of drug abuse and will be appearing in the next VH1 Celebrity Rehab series. As Garrett once said, "If there is anything I would tell anybody in this profession, it is never believe your own press."
Of course, some former child stars went on to live happy lives despite not achieving fame as adults. Even though Jerry Mathers reached his professional peak as a child actor on Leave it to Beaver, he still looks back fondly on those days. As he said on CNN's Larry King, "You know, I consider it a great blessing. I was very, very lucky to -- you know, it's something that has served me all my life. I was lucky to have the education I did on the show. I made a great deal of money. It served me all my life. It served me very, very well. So it's something I'm very proud of."
The key to enduring success seems to be the ability to grow and transform as an artist. Musicians like the Beatles, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Stevie Wonder were able to evolve and didn't remain stuck in a musical rut. Justin Bieber singing "Baby, baby, baby..." 30 years from now probably won't work, except for his most diehard fans. He'll need to evolve.
Right now, Justin Bieber is on top of the world. Young girls love him and most teen boys would trade places with him in a second. No doubt, he has talent, a great voice, and a strong personal connection to his audience through social media like Twitter. But will Bieber have a long, enduring, successful career? Or will he join the long list of former child and teen stars in rehab or worse? Twenty years from now, if he is short, fat, and bald, without any hair to flip around, will his adoring teen girl fans still love him? Only time will tell, but many industry experts think he might be one of the lucky few who are able to do it.
Yahoo! Music editor Billy Johnson, Jr. recently told CNN, "Timberlake crossed over on so many platforms, and in a lot of ways, Bieber is doing that now, by working with Ludacris. You never know what will happen, but if he keeps a level head and allows his music to grow naturally, he'll be OK."
Follow Larry Atkins on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@LarryAtkins4