Fame at a young age can have a dramatic effect on a person, a fact to which Justin Bieber, and fellow Canadian and former child star, Shawn Mendes, can certainly attest. The pair last month released their collaborative single, ‘Monster’, in which they recount the roller coaster ride each has been through, the highs and lows of being hot and then not – and what it does to one’s mental health and well-being.
Jedward know this all too well – although at 17 when they found fame, they were slightly older than Bieber’s 13, and Mendes’ 15 – they nonetheless were still children, and naive newcomers to the cutthroat world of entertainment, and have had to deal with the ups and downs of fame, and having to make that transition from child star to adult. Additionally, when John and Edward arrived on the UK’s X Factor programme back in 2009, they already had the look, attitude and personality of popstars, and should have been marketed as such, but instead, their youth and relative inexperience was abused in order to polarise public opinion, and gain TV views.
This manipulation continued during the years with their former manager, Louis Walsh, who, among other things, would not allow them to record their self-penned songs, despite them being a more accurate reflection of who they were, rather than committee-written pop tunes. Walsh wanted them to represent a certain image of his making – one that would ensure a quick buck for him, but not set them up for a long-lasting career.
Thankfully, John and Edward had other ideas, and after terminating their contract with Walsh in 2013, they thrived under the management of their mother, who sadly died early last year. Susanna, naturally, had their best interests at heart, and allowed them to grow up and show themselves for who they truly are, and to release songs they’d written and produced, that really represented THEM. Susanna is much missed not just by her sons, sisters, and other real family, but by all of Jedward’s fans, because, like the twins themselves, she forged a close bond with us, and treated us all as if we were also part of the family.
Given John and Edward’s experience, it should therefore be no surprise that they can relate to ‘Monster’, and that John has chosen the song as the latest in his series of acoustic guitar covers. It’s not the first of Bieber’s songs he’s covered either, and it certainly won’t be his last – John and Edward’s voices are, after all, quite similar to the Canadian singer’s. It also carries on a theme, and John has previously tackled another of Justin’s inward reflective songs, the ‘beautiful and heart-rending, ‘Lonely’.
Listen to John’s emotional rendition of ‘Monster’:
Speaking recently to Ireland’s VIP Magazine, John and Edward touched on the not so positive experiences of being pop stars:
E: When we did Eurovision, we got into this insane pop world, and it’s nice to strip it back and be us again. We’re 30 next year, we’re growing up in our music and what we stand for. We’ve had to transition from teen stars to adults, and it’s nice that people have let us grow with them.
J: Sometimes in the music industry, you can be silenced, with contracts and underlying things. There’s a lot more to us all than what people try and label you as.
E: It’s a very competitive market, and you’re always a threat to some other act, but the thing about us is that we never got into dramas or anything, we set ourselves aside from anything like that. To us, it’s not about always being number one. Sometimes we’re hot, sometimes we’re not, and that’s fine by us, as long as our fans are happy.
J: As long as you don’t lose who you know you are, that is the most important thing.