Teen Stardom 101: Paul Anka's 7 Lessons For Justin Bieber
April 23, 2013By Leah Collins
Paul Anka's new memoir, My Way, arrived April 9, and the Canadian pop pioneer already has enough material to go back to his publisher for a second round.
There's no manual that'll teach you how to be a teen pop star, but Anka ought to write one.
Because when you're Canada's original teen idol - a guy who was living la vida Justin Bieber nearly 50 years before Biebz himself was born - that's all anyone, or at least any entertainment reporter, wants to talk about.
In the last few days, Anka has had a lot to say about Justin Bieber.
-- Getty Images
Most recently, Anka discussed the latest gossip surrounding the 19-year-old with CBC Music: a tangled web of shirtlessness, public outbursts and something to do with Anne Frank.
"I just don't know what's going to end up with Justin," Anka, 71, told CBC Music. "It's just teenage sh*t, you know? You got to see who's around him, who's giving him bad advice, then it's up to him."
Take responsibility for your actions: there's a lesson Bieber - or anyone who doesn't wear meggings - can follow.
But that's not the extent of Anka's advice for teen pop stars.
Check out 6 more life lessons CBC Live, in our infinite and irreverent wisdom, gathered from Anka's many interviews about the Biebz.
In Anka's April interview with the Canadian Press, the singer said a young pop star like Justin Bieber can take something away from a bad experience, even one that's been broadcast globally and inspired 7 memes.
"These kids need to learn from failure. These kids need to grow within the capsule of finding out who they really are, finding out what their limits are, where they excel, because you need mileage in life ... to really feel secure within yourself dealing with others, in any occupation frankly."
Bieber successfully completed high school last year, despite some infamous gaps in his knowledge of world landmarks and geography. (Please refer to the "Sixteen Chapel" incident on Late Night with David Letterman.)
But we're all still learning, even teen idols. And education, Anka says, is crucial if you want to be the best pop star you can be. Especially if you want to avoid another public relations disaster like Bieber's "Anne Frank would have been a Belieber" snafu.
"Somebody should have schooled him, that's the bottom line, it's that simple, just school him as to what it is," Anka told the Toronto Sun, talking about the Anne Frank situation. "You have to realize all of us with success, primarily celebrities, we're not sophisticated when we're born ... You don't really get the pocket of wisdom where you really know yourself til way down in the journey."
Justin Bieber may have let his "Swagger Coach" go ages ago, but the kid is still an entire industry unto himself. People depend on him, and they also cater to him. As Anka told Global News this month, if a star is making missteps, maybe his minders aren't thinking of his best interests. (Somebody on Team Bieber's OK with the kid wandering around without a shirt, for example. Don't they know he'll catch pneumonia?!)
"It looks like he's a good kid. He just needs somebody around him that he can trust that really knows how to talk to him and lead him into a better choice of life," Anka said. "I've seen the destruction of a lot of artists because they just take it unto themselves [and] their backgrounds come up and bite them."
He continued: "You got to look at parents, you got to look at genetics, you got to look at enablers," he said. "If they're taking you down a wrong course, you're totally captive. You're a prisoner of that success and those around you. Thus you're going to make the mistakes or you're going to do something abnormal that people are going to criticize you for in a media-driven society."
That means more than staying humble. Learn from the mistakes of those who came before you - even if mom and dad never launched their own celebrity fragrance.
"When you look at it historically, when you go back to the roots, what's the background of the parents? What's the father into? What's the mother into?" Anka told the Toronto Star this month. "Let's not just talk his [Bieber's] case," he continued. "Look at Michael Jackson. I knew all those kids. They used to come to Vegas. You look at the families, you look at what the kids are emulating. Now what's in the gene? Were they drinkers? Were they what? Just look at what the kid was brought up around. Now, all of a sudden, he's living it."
So long as Bieber doesn't do anything dumber than losing his pet monkey in Germany, the kid could be OK.
"In a forgiving society, if the guy comes out with a hit record he's going to be fine," Anka told Canada.com in April. "Don't blow it!" was his basic advice. "Come out, be honest and go to your next level if you want this career."
And, as Anka told CBC's Q, the most important question a pop star like Justin Bieber can ask himself is this:
"How do I just prevent becoming an a**hole?"
Listen to Anka's full Q interview, including his thoughts on Justin Bieber, below: