Backstage at Ellen DeGeneresâ€™ talk show, Justin Bieber is lounging in a dressing room, quietly nursing a cold. Despite it being a balmy afternoon in Burbank, Calif., heâ€™s at the tail end of a phlegmy, throat-clearing cough that rattles his slight frame like a pair of maracas. His eyes, brown and Keane-painting wide, are heavy. Heâ€™d much rather be under the covers than under the probing watch of this reporter. So, he coughs again and wipes a bit of spittle from his perfect pout. Itâ€™s hard to believe that moments earlier he was driving the Ellen audience into screaming, hip-swiveling hysterics with â€œBoyfriend,â€ the first single from his latest album, Believe.
â€œYou canâ€™t let it show,â€ Bieber says, sounding like a seasoned performer. â€œYou have to be a professional.â€ While most kids his age are readying themselves for beer binges and other college high jinks, popâ€™s reigning prince is preparing for more money, minimal problems. No time for sick days and even less time for sleep. A new album, a worldwide tour, dozens of businesses and investments and a longtime girlfriendâ€”Selena Gomez, if youâ€™ve been in a comaâ€”all require his full attention.