The perils of peaking early

RETIRING: Justin Bieber
RETIRING: Justin Bieber

So, Justin Bieber has announced he will stop making music.

"My beloved beliebers I'm officially retiring," he tweeted to his 48 million followers on Christmas Day. All this at the ripe old age of 19.

Leaving aside the question of whether he ever really started making music, one can only imagine he feels he has nothing left to say.


And when you consider that what he has had to say includes immortal lines such as: "Baby, baby, baby, ooh" and "Chillin' by the fire while we eatin' fondue/I don't know about me but I know about you", it's easy to see how Bieber might feel he has fulfilled his creative potential.

He has even published his autobiography, drawing on all the rich treasure trove of experiences afforded by his first 16 years on the planet

In First Step 2 Forever, he offers fascinating insights such as this one: "At the end of the day, I'm not completely grown up. I'm going to grow up how I grow up."

Really, what more is there to say?

Not that the Biebs is alone in reaching the peak of his artistic career when barely out of nappies.

History is littered with great artists who did much of their best work by an early age. Mozart, for instance, was pretty handy as a youngster, knocking out violin concertos, string quartets and an opera while still a teen. Poet Percy Shelley also wrote some of his best stuff before his voice broke.

Meanwhile, French poet Arthur Rimbaud ran away from home, wrote all his best work, got himself shot and then retired from writing all before the age of 20.

More recently, troubled sitcom star Amanda Bynes announced she was retiring at 24, then "unretired", then took time off, then last year said she was definitely giving it away. Her current status remains a closely guarded secret between herself, her therapist and her nail technician.

Macaulay Culkin also famously decided it was time to quit in the mid-90s when he was 14, although he has since turned up in several forgettable films, raising the dispiriting possibility that the original Home Alone was as good as it was ever going to get for the child star.

But perhaps the award for most legendary early retirement in recent times has to go to Arkansas beauty queen Eden Wood, who announced she was retiring from competition at the age of six to concentrate on her acting and modelling career.

It is unclear at this stage whether she is writing her autobiography.

Sydney Morning Herald