Scooter Braun discovered Asher Roth (left) and Justin Bieber on YouTube.
Scooter Braun is a show-biz macher for the Internet age. He finds raw talent and scratches and claws his way in the door. It’s an M.O. so effective some of the biggest names in the record game think he might become “one of the greats.”
And it might seem like it all started with little Justin Bieber posting a YouTube video of himself singing an Usher song, but really it started with Braun turning nothing into something.
Scooter Braun, after all, is a nice, Jewish boy from Greenwich, Conn., the son of two dentists, who grew up in a big house with a big family. He has two younger siblings and two brothers his parents adopted from Mozambique.
At Greenwich High School, classmates crowned Braun, now 29, homecoming prince and “he was the first person to be class president three years in a row,” his father, Dr. Ervin Braun, proudly points out.
“He was always kind of a big man on campus. He had a very hot profile,” says one high school classmate. “He was always doing stuff — making moves, planning parties. And he always had pretty girlfriends, lots of them.” (His current girlfriend, with whom Braun says he’s in love but refuses to name, was mistakenly described as Bieber’s love interest on a gossip TV show.)
Some of Braun’s friends roll their eyes when they hear him called Scooter. Back in the day, he was just Scott. His younger brother, Adam, used to tease him with the name, but Braun decided to reinvent himself as Scooter when he enrolled at Atlanta’s Emory University. He says it’s because he made a $100 bet with a friend that he could get everyone to call him Scooter by his second semester. He also “realized that Scooter was a good name for marketing.”
“Scott hated the nickname. We fought whenever I called him Scooter,” Adam says. “It’s kind of strange that I was the one who gave him the name, and now I’m one of the few people who still know him as Scott.”
As Scooter, Braun spent most of his time promoting parties that eventually earned him thousands of dollars per night. And his name wasn’t the only thing that had changed.
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