April 15, 2013 10:21 am
Updated: April 15, 2013 10:26 am

Bieber needs helping hand, Anka says

TORONTO — Pop star Justin Bieber’s recent headline-making behaviour shows he needs some guidance, according to original Canadian teen idol Paul Anka.

“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, 71, said Monday. “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.”

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Anka said Bieber should not be solely blamed for his recent missteps. “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.”

Anka, who was born and raised in Ottawa, was a globally successful pop star in the late ’50s and early ’60s thanks to songs like “Diana,” “Lonely Boy” and “Put Your Head on My Shoulder.”

During an appearance on Global’s The Morning Show to promote his memoir My Way and the new album Duets, Anka said he can relate to what Bieber is experiencing but conceded the London, Ont.-born singer has it much harder.

“We’re in a different world today. You’re living in a media-driven society. Everything that’s happening is immediate. They’re watching every move,” he said. “Back then we could get away with stuff. Back then you could fail and learn from your failures. Today, you fail just once or twice you’re out of business.”

Bieber, 19, is under fire this week for saying Holocaust victim Anne Frank would have been a “belieber.” Late last month he was investigated by police in Los Angeles following a confrontation with a neighbour — just weeks after he threatened a photographer in London, England. Bieber also made headlines for showing up late for a concert and walking out of his birthday party at a London nightclub.

In January, photos apparently showing the singer smoking marijuana at a party appeared online.

Bieber told Billboard he was not “in the happiest place that I’ve ever been.”

Anka said Bieber will figure it out.

“Can he pull out of some of this stuff? I don’t see it as serious as everybody’s making it. If the poor kid burps or whatever it gets magnified into some kind of strange behaviour,” he said. “It’s tough. He knows what $100 million is and that will turn your head around big time.

“None of us was born sophisticated. Ultimately you’re scratching your way in life while you’re successful, really trying to find out who the hell you are. You’ve got to gain some wisdom.”

Anka credits his upbringing with allowing him to stay in the music industry for more than five decades.

“I left Canada with a good education [and] great parents and I applied it all over the world,” he said. “I walked that path in life. I went a little left, a little right, but I tried to behave myself.”

Anka added: “I think Justin is going to be fine.”

© Shaw Media, 2013

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