An in­sider’s look into Bieber’s early life

The Beacon Herald - - FRONT PAGE - GALEN SIMMONS STAFF RE­PORTER

Be­sides fam­ily, Strat­ford’s Nathan McKay might know Justin Bieber bet­ter than any­one.

Hav­ing met the young pop star when Bieber was just two years old, McKay was among the first peo­ple to dis­cover his mu­si­cal tal­ent. On July 20 at 7 p.m., McKay will speak at the Strat­ford Perth Mu­seum, giv­ing vis­i­tors to the mu­seum’s Steps to Star­dom ex­hibit a spe­cial in­side look at Bieber’s early life and his de­vel­op­ment as a mu­si­cian.

“I started hang­ing out with (Pat­tie Mal­lette and Bieber) so­cially, then they started invit­ing me to church, and that’s when I started to no­tice Justin’s tal­ent,” McKay said. “One of his key things is his abil­ity to im­i­tate what­ever he sees. … So one of the first things I no­ticed was Justin would pick up a set of drum­sticks and sit at the front of the church on the stairs and bang the drum­sticks on the stairs – but he would be in time.

“Some peo­ple wouldn’t rec­og­nize that … but for me, be­cause I stud­ied mu­sic and I stud­ied per­cus­sion and gui­tar, I was like, ‘Wow, he’s right in time … some­body’s got to get this kid a (drum) kit.’”

As one of Bieber’s ear­li­est friends and men­tors, and hav­ing played an in­te­gral part in the es­tab­lish­ment of the Steps to Star­dom ex­hibit at the Strat­ford Perth Mu­seum, McKay was pegged by mu­seum gen­eral man­ager John Kast­ner as the per­fect speaker to shed some light on both Bieber’s early life and the items on dis­play.

Pre­sented as a ques­tion-an­dan­swer in­ter­view, McKay said he will dis­cuss what Bieber was like as a kid, how he helped foster Bieber’s tal­ent, Bieber’s busking ca­reer in Strat­ford, Bieber’s first con­certs, and McKay’s ex­pe­ri­ences tour­ing with the pop star af­ter his re­lease of Never Say Never, among other top­ics.

Prior to McKay’s talk, the Steps to Star­dom ex­hibit will be open to vis­i­tors from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., dur­ing which time McKay will be avail­able to an­swer ques­tions about the items on ex­hibit.

“I can give them a guided tour, an­swer any ques­tions, and ex­plain some of the doc­u­ments on dis­play … and tell them the sto­ries about some of the shows he did be­fore he got signed. He did sev­eral, and I did at least five of them with him in Strat­ford, in­clud­ing his first con­cert,” McKay said.

At $15 per ticket, McKay said his talk will also shed light on the hard work, ded­i­ca­tion, and per­sis­tence any young mu­si­cian in Strat­ford needs to make it in the in­dus­try.

For more in­for­ma­tion, call the Strat­ford Perth Mu­seum at 519393-5311, or vis­itwww.strat­ford­perth­mu­seum.ca/events/. gsim­mons@post­media.com

GALEN SIMMONS/THE BEA­CON HER­ALD

Ed­win Went­worth per­forms for the­atre­go­ers out­side the Avon Theatre in Strat­ford Wednes­day af­ter­noon.

GALEN SIMMONS/THE BEA­CON HER­ALD

Nathan McKay, one of Justin Bieber's ear­li­est friends and men­tors, sits on the steps to the Avon Theatre in Strat­ford, the very same steps on which the pop star be­gan his mu­si­cal ca­reer.

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