There’s a high possibility that Poo Bear, né Jason Paul Douglas Boyd, has written one of your favorite songs. Poo Bear is a prolific songwriter who, until recently, was relatively unknown. He began his career in high school with songs for the R&B group 112 and P!nk, then Usher and Chris Brown. Later, his extensive collaborations with Justin Bieber launched Poo Bear’s name into the spotlight. Poo Bear wrote Bieber’s multi-platinum hits “Where Are Ü Now,” “What Do You Mean,” and Bieber’s portion of “Despacito (Remix).”
In the most recent episode of Songcraft: Spotlight on Songwriters, Poo Bear dives into his songwriting résumé. From his life philosophy to how he met Justin Bieber (in Vegas nonetheless), Poo Bear recounts story after story for podcast host Scott B. Bomar.
Kicking off their conversation, Poo Bear greets Bomar with a “Happy Birthday” despite it not being Bomar’s actual birthday. “I started greeting people ‘Happy Birthday’ because it made me feel more comfortable to be myself and [to] be strange,” Poo Bear says. “[I’m] hoping that if you were different that you will feel comfortable to be yourself immediately. Most people when they introduce somebody or themselves, they’re not really introducing themselves, they’re introducing the person who they want you to think they are.
“I just wanted people to be comfortable with being themselves. Then it turned into every day should be a birthday when you wake up because some people don’t wake up. You should be blessed to just wake up and treat it like it’s your birthday every day,” Poo Bear explains.
After breaking down his nontraditional but endearing “Happy Birthday” salutation, Poo Bear and Bomar begin to track the songwriter’s career from the beginning. Poo Bear recounts that when he was in high school, he was covertly writing for 112 and P!nk. “It was different cuz I had my teachers telling me I needed to pay attention in school, or I wasn’t going to make it in the industry.
“I had a song on the radio, and I never bragged about it, but I just thought it was interesting because [they said] you’re not that one percent. You need to pay attention to do your homework. Because only one percent make it and you’re not that one percent. [I was] like, ‘Cool, what if you turn on the radio right now? You’re definitely gonna hear my song playing right now every hour on the hour for the next four weeks,’” Poo Bear says.
This humble approach to songwriting is part of Poo Bear’s brand and his appeal to other artists. Not to mention the sheer volume of songs he can produce each year— which is over 600. Thus, when he met Justin Bieber, Poo Bear was already an established songsmith.