There are few artists who truly deserve the title of superstar. Justin Timberlake is undoubtedly one of them. As both a member of *NSYNC and a solo artist, Southern superstar Justin Timberlake has played a major role in the teen pop explosion of the '90s and 2000s. In 2002, he released his debut solo album, Justified, which sold over seven million copies worldwide and Timberlake's second solo release, FutureSex/LoveSounds, was released in 2006 with the #1 hit singles "SexyBack" and "My Love".
Like similar teen pop favorites who have included the Backstreet Boys, C-Note, Christina Aguilera, Hanson, the Spice Girls, and Britney Spears, Timberlake usually doesn't get much respect from rock critics (who, in many cases, tend to be very alternative-minded and anti-commercialistic). Regardless, he is adored by millions of fans, many of whom have been adolescent girls. Over the years, the teen market has had a lot of different sounds. Justin Timberlake is part of the more modern school of teen pop, which is mindful of dance-pop, urban contemporary, and hip-hop and got started with the rise of New Kids on the Block, Debbie Gibson, and Tiffany in the late '80s.
Like Spears (who Timberlake became romantically involved with), Aguilera, and *NSYNC's JC Chasez, Timberlake got his start on the Disney Channel's '90s version of The Mickey Mouse Club. Timberlake and Chasez were on The Mickey Mouse Club simultaneously in their pre-*NSYNC days, and they kept working together when *NSYNC was formed. *NSYNC got started in Orlando, FL, in 1996, when Timberlake and Chasez teamed up with Lance Bass, Chris Kirkpatrick, and Joey Fatone. Released by RCA/BMG in 1998, the vocal quintet's self-titled debut album sold millions of copies in both the United States and Europe and contained the smash hits "I Want You Back" and "Tearing Up My Heart." *NSYNC's second album, No Strings Attached, was released on Jive in 2000 and was even more commercially successful; No Strings Attached went double platinum in only one week, and the singles "Bye Bye Bye" and "This I Promise You" became major hits.
Timberlake released his debut solo album, Justified, on November 5, 2002. Producer Timbaland appears with 4 tracks on Justified including '(And She Said) Take Me Now' featuring Janet Jackson. However, it's "Cry Me A River" that stands out among the Timbaland-produced songs. "As soon as Timbaland made that beat, I started humming this crazy melody. I really wanted one section of the song to follow that staccato rhythm, but wanted the other parts to feel like something new," says Timberlake. The song is like a Van Gogh painting; it takes you on an incredible journey that keeps building to an epic conclusion. "Even if you don?t feel the emotion of the song, the groove is undeniable. It's not one of those songs that has a certain BPM (beats per minute) because it's a bit slower than what you're used to hearing on the radio," he says. "Cry Me A River" is a hip-hop ballad that has potential in both pop and urban markets.
In February 2004, during the halftime show of the Super Bowl XXXVIII, Timberlake performed with Janet Jackson before a television audience of over 140 million viewers. At the end of the performance, Timberlake tore off a part of Jackson's black leather costume in a "costume reveal" meant to accompany a portion of the song lyrics, "gonna have you naked by the end of this song". Part of the costume became detached, and Jackson's breast was briefly exposed. Timberlake apologized for the incident saying that he was "sorry that anyone was offended by the wardrobe malfunction. It was not intentional and is regrettable".
After the Super Bowl controversy, Timberlake put his recording career on hold in an attempt to jumpstart his acting career. The first role he took during this time was as a journalist in the thriller Edison Force, which was filmed in 2004. He will also appear in the films Alpha Dog, Black Snake Moan, Richard Kelly's Southland Tales, and voice a young King Arthur in the animated film Shrek the Third, which will be released in 2007. He also appeared as a young Elton John, in the video for John's song, "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore".
Timberlake had a cameo in Nelly Furtado and Timbaland's video for her single "Promiscuous". He released his second solo album, FutureSex/LoveSounds, on September 12, 2006. A studio representative described it as being "all about sexiness" and aiming for "an adult feel". The album's lead single, "SexyBack", was performed by Timberlake at the opening of the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards. Justin was featured in the 2006 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show for being the special guest performer.
Other than music and acting Timberlake has opened several restaurants in the United States. In 2005 he launched the William Rast clothing line, sold in Bloomingdale's, with childhood friend Trace Ayala.
In the movie Alpha Dog, the Chinese characters prominently displayed among the faux-tattoos on Justin's left arm actually mean "ice skating."