Beckham Meets Bieber
Yesterday it was announced that 11-year-old Cruz Beckham has been signed by Scooter Braun, most famous for being Justin Bieber’s manager (more on that later). If you keep tabs on David and Victoria’s social media, this is natural evolution for Brand Beckham; Brooklyn is a photographer and model, Romeo is a sometimes-model, and Cruz is a singer. Harper? She’s a bitch breaker.
After the Cups video, it was clear that it was only a matter of time before they turned “cute Cruz singing at the kitchen table” into a more formal career. But still… 11? Eleven seems young, no? Like, has his voice changed yet?
“Child star” has built-in connotations – we always think of Lindsay Lohan and Corey Feldman, and never Natalie Portman. But a child star in a celebrity family is a different beast. For this, we can look to people like the Smiths for an example. Jaden and Willow were acting and singing at a young age. When asked about it, Jada said that her children didn’t have the pressure that other child stars have because the family did not rely on them for income (and I would also add, Will and Jada never needed their kids for status). That gave Willow and Jaden the freedom to choose – and turn down – projects they weren’t feeling. (Like Willow dropping out of Annie.) Jada’s argument clearly has some merit because Willow and Jaden are cooler, more interesting and more self-actualized than 95% of famous people.
This is not a small thing: you just need to read Duana’s take on Millie Bobby Brown to be reminded about how gross stage parents can be. How gross the industry can be to minors. Children of the “right kind” of celebrities are not vulnerable to the same things – they will likely be more insulated from opportunists and vultures. And maybe that mix of power, influence, artistic curiosity and hyper self-awareness can produce Willow or Jaden Smith.
Victoria and David seem like loving and devoted parents who are genuinely proud of their children. This isn’t a Dina and Michael situation. None of this is for their own ego or bank account. It’s the impatience of it that makes it a little off-putting. Why not let him develop and mature behind closed doors?
He isn’t even in high school. It’s exceptionally young to start a music career so I don’t understand the rush. The opportunities of his name won’t likely change drastically in the next 4-5 years. Victoria or David could still get the meetings they need to get for him. In that time, he could go to middle school, take music lessons, and record in his state-of-the-art basement studio or something.
It’s a curious move because the Beckhams are patient. They have been married 16-years and have weathered many things (affairs, divorce rumours, Victoria’s French tips, David’s cornrows) and successfully transitioned to America. Victoria has built a respected fashion brand and David has handled his retirement from football pretty gracefully.
By signing with Scooter, the Beckhams have made a declaration: Cruz is open for business. Because you don’t choose Scooter unless you want the Bieber comparison. They have partnered with someone with experience taking a babyface singer to international superstardom. He’s been Justin’s protector, his mentor and at times, waiting for a text in the middle of the night, his parent by proxy.
But if you think Scooter is just Justin Bieber’s manager, you haven’t been keeping up with Scooter Braun. He’s launched a full-service management company with music, TV and film and tech. He works with artists like Kanye (which, love him or hate him, is prestigious). The interesting thing about Cruz is that, unlike Biebs and most young singers, he comes with a built-in team that knows about record deals, endorsements, licensing, contracts, public relations… so how valuable will Scooter’s advice be? What will it be weighed against? How deep is his role?
He is the person the Beckhams – who have excelled at managing their success – have chosen as their ally. It’s a deliberate decision, but I wonder how they came to it: was Simon Fuller, with whom both parents have a long-standing relationship, ever an option? Who else did they consider? Did Cruz have a say?
That’s what will be interesting to watch: the push for Cruz will come, we just don’t know who the architect is quite yet.
(Writing about a singing Beckham child reminds me of my favourite Ali G interview. “A singer like Mariah Carey” kills me every time.)