Justin Bieber Mentors The Kid Laroi in Exclusive Documentary Clip

Three years ago, the Kid LAROI notched the biggest hit of his career as “Stay” reached explosive levels of success. Now nearing three billion streams on Spotify, the single found him pleading for forgiveness in a relationship while wrestling with wasted nights, time, and potential. Conversely, Justin Bieber‘s guest appearance was a hopeful embrace of the love that healing opened him up to experiencing.

In an exclusive clip from Laroi’s forthcoming documentary Kids Are Growing Up: A Story About a Kid Named Laroi, premiering via Prime Video on Feb. 29, the 20-year-old rapper and singer notes the ways in which Bieber’s optimism has permeated their interactions both in and out of the studio. “He’s just a really special human being. He has no ego when it comes to supporting me,” Laroi tells Rolling Stone. “Not everyone’s like him. He’s very giving and he wants to offer everything that he has to help me.”

“From the moment I met Justin, it was just all about positivity coming in here. No judgment zone, let’s all have fun,” Laroi remembers in the documentary. In a joint interview with the musician, Bieber recalls: “He plays me this song, ‘Stay,’ and it was him on it by himself. He was like, ‘I don’t think I’m gonna use it for my album.’ I was like, ‘Well, if you don’t use it, give it to me. I’ll use it. This is a great song.’”

As Bieber inches closer to both his 30th birthday and the 15th anniversary of his debut single in the coming months, he has comfortably settled into his role as a pop veteran. He knows what an undeniable hit sounds like, having had quite a few of his own. But he also has a thorough understanding of what it feels like to be catapulted into the spotlight of stardom during crucial formative years. Through that shared experience, Laroi has found both a supportive collaborator and a trusted mentor in the singer.

During one tender moment in the documentary, Bieber offers Laroi a few words of encouragement while in rehearsal. “When you’re singing, believe everything you’re saying while you’re singing,” he tells him. “It helps so much. Sing it and really think about what you’re saying. I’m sure you do that.” Later on, Bieber lays on the floor, staring up at the ceiling as he exclaims: “That’s a fucking great song. You wrote that, bro. That’s fucking sick.”

Their collaboration on “Stay” marked a full circle moment for Laroi, whose first introduction to Bieber came by way of his 2010 documentary Never Say Never. “It’s funny, I told Justin about this. I was like seven years old or something, and we went with my cousin because she really wanted to watch it. I didn’t know at the time who Justin Bieber was,” he tells Rolling Stone. “He was just coming into the world. And I just remember watching it and being like, ‘Whoa, this kid is so cool. I could be like him.’ It was inspiring for me as a seven-year-old child to see that.”

Michael D. Ratner, who directed Kids Are Growing Up: A Story About a Kid Named Laroi, previously served as an executive producer on a number of Bieber’s recent documentary projects, including 2020’s Seasons.

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“I think it’s cool that they have a great relationship. They’re such different people and at different points in their lives. This is Laroi’s first few years dealing with the success and the pressure and it’s been a whirlwind,” he tells Rolling Stone. “Laroi and I — then Justin and I, separately — we built up such tremendous trust. It’s about the relationship as two artists, a director and the subject and talent.”

He adds: “But being partners, being aligned with the story you’re trying to tell, confiding in one another and having hard conversations and vulnerable conversations, you get to really know somebody. And I have a really incredible relationship with Laroi that has just gone on now — it’s crazy to say it’s been years, right? — making this one project. And same thing with Justin.”

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