The man who discovered teenage megastar Justin Bieber is Scooter Braun, a 31-year-old talent manager from Greenwich, Conn. Braun is known for finding promising acts on YouTube, drumming up an early fan base with more YouTube videos and then releasing his talent to the broader public with big name endorsements (which in Bieber’s case came from R&B icon Usher).
Bieber, 18, was raised by his single mother, a Christian who initially bristled at the idea of her son being represented by a Jewish manager. “I prayed, ‘God, you don’t want this Jewish kid to be Justin’s man, do you?’” she recalled in a 2009 New York Times profile. But now the Bieber team likes to hype its multi-faith character. Bieber says a Christian prayer before each show and then joins Braun and musical director Dan Kanter in singing the Sh’ma. Braun’s Jewish identity goes beyond his preshow prayers.
Being born Scott Samuel Braun, the grandson of Holocaust survivors, he told the Forward, had an “incredible influence” on his life. He grew up in a kosher home, and as a child he loved Superman because he’s the “Jewish superhero.” He even attended Camp Ramah.
This year, Braun signed Carly Rae Jepsen, another precocious young Canadian musical singer, proving himself as perhaps the preeminent pop talent scout of our time.