By Joel Hanek
If you want to see a teenage pop star who isn’t Justin Bieber, then look no further. Videos of artists before they were the artists that we know and love have been surfacing all over the Interwebs recently. While not always flattering, these glimpses behind some rather outsized personas are hypnotic and magnetic. It’s evidence that these people are human, and that everybody is pretty awkward in middle school.
Just like us, artists have to succumb to the power of the omniscient nebula that dictates our lives: The Internet. The savviest of stars know how to navigate the Web’s Temple of Doom and use it as a clever marketing tool by carefully managing information and sculpting their identities. But alas, the Internet is an angry and whimsical being and sometimes it likes to show embarrassing junior high year book photos of you to all of your friends just to be a jerk.
At a time when I can only assume she woke up like “Puff Daddy” and brushed her teeth with actual toothpaste, 13-year-old Kesha Rose Sebert (now known to the world as Ke$ha) is shown in this video performing Radiohead’s OK Computer classic “Karma Police.”
Before Chris Brown became the guy associated with a great voice, awesome dance moves and domestic violence, he was just a kid with a great voice and awesome dance moves. Watch Mini-Chris at 13 perform one of his early singles, “Whose Girl is That.”
From blond to black, Adam Lambert traded in his cap and gown for a more casual look of spikes and leather. In a video from his high school graduation back in 2000, the “American Idol” phenomenon performs Boyz II Men’s “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” for his fellow classmates.
The Haus of Gaga wasn’t built in one day, and the empress took time to cultivate the idea of what would eventually become Lady Gaga. Before The Fame there was a New York girl by the name of Stefanie Germanotta. While she’s not outfitted in Kermit the Frog pelts, this video from 2005 demonstrates the blooming star that she was.