Lonely

Album: yet to be titled (2020)
Charted: 17 12

Songfacts®:

  • Music executive Scooter Braun discovered 12-year-old Justin Bieber when he accidentally clicked on one of his YouTube videos. Bieber's talent quickly turned him into a teen idol, but becoming a superstar at such a young age created huge difficulties as he struggled to deal with growing up in the public eye. Despite his massive fan base of Beliebers, Justin wrestled with feelings of isolation as few could relate to his newfound fame to provide him with emotional support. The lyrics of this melancholy song tell a story of loneliness despite success.
  • Bieber wrote this emotional piano ballad with Benny Blanco, who also co-penned "Love Yourself," and with Billie Eilish's brother-producer, Finneas. The Canadian pop star explained that when Blanco and Finneas first played him their original demo, it was hard for him to listen. It brought Bieber back to those tough years as a child in the limelight, which had been so hard to get through.
  • When he went into the studio, Bieber didn't find it easy to sing the track, but he started to see the importance of telling his story knowing that everybody gets lonely at times. "Being someone in my position I believe it is powerful to express vulnerability and that's why I believe this song is so powerful," he said.
  • Bieber rarely swears in his music, but here he uses several cuss words, including the F-word. Blanco admitted to Billboard that the Christian pop star was "real nervous," and wavered on whether to release the song. "Because he's like, 'People know me for this thing and it's like I've never been this raw.' He's raw on this song."
  • The song began as a therapy session where Bieber, Blanco and Finneas talked about how we all try to pretend to be Superman and suppress our feelings. They shared how they feel family and friends are counting on us to be a superhero, but it's okay not to be strong all the time.

    "Why do you have to be this superhero? Why can't you be like one of your kids for a second and be like, 'I don't want to do. I just want to cry. I just want to be sad.' There's this weird stigma and this thing where men are supposed to be this," Blanco explained. "And it's like, 'No, I want to be vulnerable. I want to cry. I want to have a good cry.'"
  • Paper Towns director Jake Schreier shot the music video, which depicts a My World-era Biebs played by 14-year-old Room star Jacob Tremblay. We see Tremblay, complete with side-swept hair and purple hoodie, making his way from the backstage of a theater to an empty stage where Bieber is the only one in the audience. Justin commented that it "was emotional to see him play me from the outside looking in."

    Schreirer also shot the clip for Blanco's 2019 single "I Can't Get Enough."
  • Blanco and Finneas originally got together in LA to write another song. They ended up talking to Bieber, and their casual conversation became "Lonely." "People look at Justin as this larger-than-life character and his life has been so publicized. If Justin does something wrong it's on CNN the next day," Blanco told Radio.com with a laugh. "It's something he really needed to get off his chest and if I can help someone like him do that, that's like a super win."
  • Bieber had to record his vocals remotely as he remained quarantined in Canada because of the coronavirus.

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