Who Is Justin Timberlake?
Singer Justin Timberlake got his start on ‘The New Mickey Mouse Club’ and made it big with boy band *NSYNC, before becoming a solo singer and actor
Justin Timberlake began his career on The New Mickey Mouse Club, starring alongside Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. In 1995, he became a teen heartthrob with the pop group *NSYNC. After the pop group’s immensely successful run in the 1990s, Timberlake went solo in 2002, releasing his own album, Justified. He proved he could stand alone with the Grammy-winning album, and continued his success as a solo artist with FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006), the two-part The 20/20 Experience (2013) and Man of the Woods (2018). Aside from a prominent singing career, Timberlake also proved himself a talented actor, starring in Alpha Dog (2006), The Social Network (2010) and In Time (2011).
Justin Randall Timberlake was born on January 31, 1981, in Memphis, Tennessee to parents Randall “Randy” Timberlake and Lynn Bomer. He spent his childhood days in Shelby Forest.
Raised a Baptist, Timberlake grew up singing in the church choir. His family circle also included a number of musicians who nurtured his talent, including an uncle who played in a bluegrass band and a grandfather who first taught the young Timberlake guitar, and who had himself jammed with Elvis Presley. His grandfather also introduced him to the songs of Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. At the same time, his father played him songs by bands like the Eagles and Queen. Memphis was also home of the blues and he got turned on to the likes of B.B. King and others.
In 1985, Timberlake’s parents divorced. Both have remarried and the extended family remains close. He has two half-brothers on his father’s side. His half-sister died shortly after birth and Timberlake would pay tribute to her in the NSYNC song “My Angel in Heaven.”
From 1993 to 1995, he performed on The New Mickey Mouse Club, along with pop stars Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and JC Chasez. Afterward, Timberlake and Chasez, along with Lance Bass, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick, formed the all-male singing group *NSYNC. The boy band would go on to become one of the hottest pop groups of the 1990s, first as an overnight sensation in Europe and then later in the United States. Their self-titled debut album included hits like “I Want You Back” and “Tearin’ Up My Heart.”
‘No Strings Attached’
After dealing with a very public legal battle with their former manager Lou Pearlman, the band released their sophomore follow-up, No Strings Attached (2000), which became the top-selling album of the year and the bestselling album of the decade. Its first single, “Bye Bye Bye” became their signature song, and more hits like “It’s Gonna Be Me” and “This I Promise You” helped solidify them as one of the most popular boy bands in music history.
The follow-up and final album, Celebrity, was released in 2001 and produced three hit singles: “Pop,” “Gone” and “Girlfriend.” The PopOdyssey tour, which promoted the album, became one of the biggest tours of the year, earning $90 million.
The group was later honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2018.
Early Solo Career Highlights
‘Justified’ and Controversial Super Bowl Performance
In 2002, Timberlake decided to pursue a solo career, debuting with the hit song “Like I Love You.” Later that year, he released his first solo album, Justified, which also featured the hits “Cry Me a River” and “Rock Your Body” and sold more than 7 million copies worldwide. He received two Grammy Awards in 2004 for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. The wins came on the heels of a controversial Super Bowl performance with Janet Jackson in which Timberlake accidentally tore off a portion of Jackson’s costume, revealing her bare breast.
As a solo artist, Timberlake has often collaborated with the Black Eyed Peas, receiving a Grammy nomination with the band for “Where Is The Love?” He has also worked with Nelly, Snoop Dogg and Nelly Furtado and started his own record company, JayTee Records, in 2005.
The following year, he released his second solo album, FutureSex/LoveSounds, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart. The album’s lead single, “SexyBack,” spent several consecutive weeks at No. 1. Some of the album’s other hit tracks include “My Love,” “What Goes Around Comes Around” and “LoveStoned/I Think She Knows,” with the last two songs garnering Grammys.
In 2008, Timberlake helped make Madonna’s single “4 Minutes” a Top 10 hit. Not only did he provide complementary vocals, but he was also a co-writer of the song. Timberlake also contributed to several other tracks on Madonna’s Hard Candy album.