Justin Timberlake Recalls Recording ‘SexyBack’ With Timbaland And How Working With Him Fulfilled His ‘Prophecy’


Justin Timberlake and Timbaland were cemented into pop music history as a certified hitmaking team, but as a 14-year-old boy JT believed it was his “prophecy” to work with the mega-producer.

In a new interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, Timberlake shared his Essentials playlist that looks back on 20 of his biggest hits old and new, from his # 1 career-defining hit “SexyBack” to his reflective new sound. on “Mirrors” to her “I can’t stop feeling!” »Happy hymn of the dance of Trolls in 2016.

But when it comes to “SexyBack,” the 39-year-old hitmaker recalled the pushback he initially received. He spoke to Lowe about the concerns of those on the label over the first single from his 2006 album. FutureSex / LoveSounds, from “It’s too fast” to “It doesn’t look like you” to “He doesn’t have your falsetto signature”. Yet Timberlake loved her for all of these reasons and the inspiration from David Bowie behind it.

“I was listening to ‘Rebel Rebel’, which is basically about a transvestite. And so I was imagining guys, girls, all the iterations of that at a club, singing this to each other, ”he said of the 1974 classic Bowie in the interview. “And I said, ‘It must be so simple and a vibe and just like an attitude.’ And I was like, “What’s the boldest thing you can say? And that was the first line of the song. ”

Timberlake then delved into the birth story of the provocative R&B single, which ultimately won the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording in 2007. “I’m Going never forget this moment. So [Timbaland’s] like, ‘Alright man, I think we need to bring back the dance music.’ So it is [beatboxing]… He’s like, ‘What are you going to say?’ I just go like this, [singing] “I’m bringing back sexy!” And he said, “Yeah! He just said “Yeah! But Timbaland is not doing anything offbeat. You should know that. ”

He continued, “So we just started swapping lines back and forth and it was just, honestly, it was like a pop-dance number. You know where we were, it was all over the top of our heads, and we were And then we finished it, we knew it was different. We invited people to the studio. And every time that record came out, the reaction you had from any woman was, I was like, “That’s it. “”

This instantly paced workflow between the two once seemed to be part of Timberlake’s dreams, as the former * NSYNC member recalled wanting to work with Verzuz Battle co-creator after hearing Missy’s debut studio album “Misdemeanor. »Elliott in 1997 Soup after the fly, which Timbaland produced on his own.

“It was like a prophecy to me. You must understand, like when I was 14 and we were just the band [*NSYNC], Soup after the fly was the thing for me. And I said to my mother, ‘I will work with this man someday. I’ll work with him someday if that’s the last thing I do, ”Timberlake told Apple Music. “And sure, I was 14, and just like… I probably could’ve said anything then and believed it.” … We met a bit. He really liked “It’s Gonna Be Me” actually. And we met him once outside of a studio and I realized that maybe that wouldn’t be possible. ”

Since then, the two have spawned countless successes together and Timbaland has had production credits on each of JT’s solo albums for the past two decades.

Listen to clips of Timberlake’s interview with Lowe, as well as his Essentials playlist on Apple Music Pop, below.


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