Usher Recalls ‘Bidding War’ With Justin Timberlake to Sign Justin Bieber

Usher has revealed he and Justin Timberlake were in a bidding war to sign Justin Bieber back in the day.

In a recent conversation with People, the 45-year-old discussed signing Bieber to his and Scooter Braun‘s joint label, Raymond Braun Media Group, in 2008, and recalled how another famous pop star almost got in the way.

“When you are at the top of your game, some of the greatest things will be presented to you, and it was, I think, right after [my album] Confessions that I was introduced to Justin Bieber and Scooter Braun,” Usher said before explaining his friendship with Scooter. “I presented Scooter an offer that I felt he couldn’t resist…We built a friendship, but this would obviously create a partnership that would span us forever, and it was a bit of a bidding war between me and Justin Timberlake.”

He added, “I was like, I’m not certain that I could understand each and every producer that this artist could benefit from, but what I can tell you is I’m going to give you my passion, and I’m going to give you every bit of what I have to offer.”

Usher also explained that he had to sign Bieber because the whole thing wouldn’t work if he signed with Timberlake as “there can only be one Justin.” He also added that Braun was trying to find himself as an entrepreneur at the time, and his persuasion only fueled the signing even more.

“I believe in you, and if we can have a partnership, I’ll give you every bit of wisdom that I have and grow you and support you in whatever you’re trying to accomplish as a businessman,” Usher told Braun at the time. “You are a manager. You’re not just a guy who can discover artists. You are someone who just needs someone to believe in, and I believe in, and I’ll support you.”

Usher added that he and Timberlake have a mutual respect for one another and even tried to work together, but nothing came about given their busy careers.

“We are all unique artists and have our creativity,” he said. “I love the producers that he works with, so much so that I worked with them, and I think he loves the producers that I worked with, so much so that he’s worked with them.”

He continued, “I’ve always wanted to do a record with Justin, and I have reached out many times, but we’ve never managed to make it happen.”