May 16, 2014 12:00 pm
Updated: May 16, 2014 12:06 pm

WATCH: Dan Kanter defends ‘best friend’ Justin Bieber, praises Beliebers


ABOVE: Watch Dan Kanter on Global’s The Morning Show.

TORONTO — Few people are as close to pop superstar Justin Bieber as his musical director Dan Kanter.

“Justin is like my best friend and my little brother,” said the 32-year-old musician Friday during an appearance on Global’s The Morning Show.

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As such, Kanter is diplomatic about Bieber’s erratic behaviour and public missteps.

“For me, it’s all about the music,” he said. “A lot of people forget that Justin is first and foremost a musician. For him, it’s all about the music.”

Kanter stressed that Bieber plays several instruments and writes songs.

“He’s always in the studio and for him that’s the most important thing,” said Kanter, a native of Ottawa who calls Toronto home. “Beyond all the bright lights and the hoopla, he’s in it for the music.”

Kanter did allow that Bieber’s headline-making life is fodder for his music.

“He can really channel some of that frustration and experience into his songwriting.”

Kanter doesn’t count himself among the enablers in Bieber’s inner circle.

“I’m very hard on him,” he said. “I will never be a ‘yes’ person to him.”

Justin Bieber and his mother Pattie Mallette at Dan Kanter’s 2010 wedding in Toronto.

John R. Kennedy

Kanter, who has been working with Bieber since day one, credits the pop star’s fans for not only making the journey possible but keeping it fun.

“Beliebers are incredible,” he said. “It’s been an amazing experience to go all around the world and he has the most amazing fans.”

Kanter is sticking close to home this summer to appear as a judge on the TV series The Next Star, a competition show that seeks out the country’s best new singer under 15 — about the age Bieber was when they started collaborating.

“Working with kids is great because they’re so eager and they’re so green,” said Kanter, “and they don’t have bad habits so we can really mentor them and coach them.”

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