Kate's Notes

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake

Justin Randall Timberlake (born January 31, 1981) has come a long way from his beginning days on the “Mickey Mouse Club” where he starred alongside fellow future pop-star, and ex-girlfriend Britney Spears. Now a days, the singing sensation is considered to be a contender for the coveted title of the new “King of Pop” (usurping the fallen Michael Jackson). Though this pop-R&B singer and actor came into fame in the music industry as the front-man of pop boy-band 'N Sync, since then he has won four Grammy Awards, and in 2002, he released his debut solo album, Justified, which sold over seven million copies worldwide. Timberlake's sophomore solo album, FutureSex/LoveSounds, was released in 2006 with the #1 hit singles "SexyBack," "My Love," and "What Goes Around Comes Around."

Since his inception into the limelight, he has also gone from being the crush object of teen magazines, to the handsome hunk of women's magazines. He is also a darling to the tabloid circuit with his high-profile relationship and breakup with Britney Spears, and then his attempted low-profile relationship with knock-out, Cameron Diaz. Their recent breakup has thrust him back onto the cover of the gossip rags, which intently follow his brief romances with Hollywood beauties such as Scarlett Johansson, who starred in his video for “What Goes Around Comes Around,” and Jessica Beil. By bringing sexy back to his international fanbase, Timberlake has solidified himself as a pop-sensation for all the world to adore.

Early Life

Bron in Memphis, Tennessee to Randall Timberlake and Lynn nee Bomar, Timberlake grew up in Millington, a small town just north of Memphis. He is of British ancestry, and his paternal grandfather, Charles L. Timberlake, was a Baptist minister. Timberlake was raised in the Baptist religion, although he considers himself more "spiritual than religious." His parents divorced in approximately 1985 and have both since remarried; his mother, who now runs an entertainment company called JustinTime Entertainment (and who manages the all-girl group Innosense), remarried to Paul Harless, a banker, when Justin was aged 5; and his father, a choir director at a Baptist church, has two children, Jonathan (born c1993) and Stephen (born c1998), from his second marriage. A half-sister, Laura Katherine, died shortly after birth in 1997 and is mentioned on one of Timberlake's record acknowledgments as "My Angel in Heaven."

Timberlake sang at the Grand Ole Opry when he was just ten years old, and he also attempted to start his singing career when he sang a few country music songs on "Star Search" as Justin Randall in 1993, at the age of 11. Later in 1993, he got a real taste of fame when he joined the ranks of “The Mickey Mouse Club.” There he met future girlfriend and pop-superstar Britney Spears, future tour mate Christina Aguilera, and future band mate JC Chasez. When the show ended in 1995, Timberlake recruited Chasez to be in a new all-male singing group Lou Pearlman was forming with Chris Kirkpatrick. The group would come to be known as ‘N Sync. In 1999 Justin acted as Jason Sharpe in the made-for-television movie, Model Behavior.

Timberlake's dancing and singing style are influenced by his idol, Michael Jackson.

'N Sync: 1995 – 2000

Timberlake was a member of the popular 1990s boy band, 'N Sync, and was considered universally as a teen idol. The group was formed in 1995, when Justin was just 14 years old; they began their career 1996 in Germany and hit it big in the United States two years later in 1998, eventually releasing the fastest-selling album of all time, No Strings Attached in 2000. In 2002, after the completion of their Celebrity Tour and release of "Girlfriend," the third single from their 2001 album Celebrity, the group decided to take time off, at which point Timberlake began work on his first solo album. The album signaled a transition from his squeaky-clean boy band image to a sexier, more mature look and feel.

Justified: 2002 – 2004

In August 2002, after months of recording the album, Timberlake performed at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards, where he premiered his first single, "Like I Love You," a sparse dance track produced by The Neptunes. The song reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. Following the single, Timberlake released his debut solo album, Justified, on November 5, 2002. The album was also a success, despite selling considerably less than previous 'N Sync efforts. It debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 album chart, selling 439,000 copies in its first week of release; and his debut solo single "Like I Love You" reached #2 in the United Kingdom singles chart in October of 2002.

The album would eventually go on to sell over 5 million copies in the United States and over 7 million copies worldwide. The album contained several tracks which were created to be part of Michael Jackson's Invincible album, but did not make it to the final selection of songs used for it. The album also received critical acclaim, thanks to its heavy R&B influence provided by hip-hop producers The Neptunes and Timbaland. It spun off hits throughout late 2002 and 2003, including the top ten singles "Cry Me A River" and "Rock Your Body." His third solo single, "Rock Your Body," debuted at #2 in the United Kingdom singles chart

He went onto perform a duet with Kylie Minogue at the 2003 Brit Awards, and he hosted the 2003 MTV Movie awards with actor Sean William Scott.

Timberlake won his first Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album for Justified and won a Grammy for Best Pop Male for the single, "Cry Me A River” in 2004.

Timberlake supported the album by co-headlining the Justified/Stripped Tour with Christina Aguilera in the summer of 2003. For many dates, Black Eyed Peas served as the opening act; Timberlake appeared unaccredited on their smash hit "Where Is The Love?" which was also released in the summer of 2003. His record company did not want Timberlake to be credited for fear that it would take focus away from his solo releases; still, Timberlake often appeared with Black Eyed Peas to perform the track live, including during the 2003 MTV Europe Music Awards. By the end of the year, Timberlake recorded a song entitled "I'm Lovin' It." It was used by McDonald's as the theme to their "I'm Lovin' It" campaign.

The Super Bowl Incident: "Wardrobe Malfunction"

In February 2004, during the halftime show of the Super Bowl XXXVIII, Timberlake performed his single, "Rock Your Body," 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 apparently detached, and Jackson's nipple was briefly exposed, which also revealed a type of nipple ring. This caused a national controversy and the FCC and many family groups lambasted Timberlake and Jackson for the occurrence. Timberlake apologized for the incident saying that he was "sorry that anyone was offended by the wardrobe malfunction during the halftime performance of the Super Bowl... It was not intentional and is regrettable." The phrase "wardrobe malfunction" has since been used by the media to refer to the incident and has entered pop culture.

As a result of the controversy, Timberlake and Jackson were banned from the 2004 Grammy Awards unless they agreed to apologize on screen at the event. Jackson declined. Timberlake attended and issued a scripted apology while accepting the first of two Grammy Awards he received that night (Best Pop Vocal Album for Justified and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "Cry Me A River"). He had also been nominated for Album of the Year for Justified, Record of the Year for "Cry Me A River," and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Where Is The Love?" with Black Eyed Peas.

Collaborations and Acting Opportunities: 2004–2006

After the Super Bowl controversy, Timberlake put his recording career on hold in an attempt to jumpstart his acting career. Timberlake had a few minor acting roles during his early music career, including a bit part as a model in the 2000 made-for-television film Model Behavior, and a cameo in the 2001 film, On the Line; however, he was seeking more substantial roles.

The first role he took during this time was as a journalist in the thriller Edison Force, which was filmed in 2004 and received a direct-to-video release on July 18, 2006. He then went onto appear in the film Alpha Dog in 2006, and had a much publicized and drooled over sex-scene with Christina Ricci in 2007’s Black Snake Moan with Samuel L. Jackson. He is also featured in Richard Kelly's Southland Tales, and in addition, he will voice a young King Arthur in the animated film Shrek the Third with then girlfriend, Cameron Diaz, 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."

Meanwhile, he continued to record with other artists. After "Where Is The Love?", he again collaborated with Black Eyed Peas on the 2005 track, "My Style" from their album Monkey Business. Additionally, Timberlake was featured on Nelly's song, "Work It," which was remixed and included on Nelly's 2003 remix album. When recording the 2005 single "Signs" with Snoop Dogg, Timberlake discovered a throat condition: nodules were subsequently removed from his throat in an operation that took place on May 5, 2005. He was advised not to sing or speak loudly for at least a few months. In the summer of 2005, Timberlake started his own record company, JayTee Records.

Timberlake also ended up collaberating with the 1980s sensation, Duran Duran in 2006 for a song on the band's album. In November of that year, lead singer Simon Le Bon told The Associated Press the band had "collaborated in a writing and production manner on one of those tracks with Justin Timberlake."

FutureSex/LoveSounds: 2006 – Present

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. The album, which Timberlake created in 2005, debuted in the number one position on the Billboard chart, selling 684,000 copies its first week. The album is also the biggest album ever for pre-orders on iTunes, and beat Coldplay's record for the biggest one-week sales of a digital album. The album was produced by Timbaland, will.i.am, Rick Rubin and Timberlake himself, and features guest vocals by Three 6 Mafia, T.I. and will.i.am. 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. It began receiving radio and Internet play on July 7, 2006, and premiered at #90 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles and by week nine it reached number one, where it remained for seven consecutive weeks. He received his first United Kingdom #1 with his song "SexyBack.”

"My Love," the album's second single, also produced by Timbaland and featuring rapper T.I., reached number one on the Hot 100 for the week ending November 11, 2006.

Timberlake performed the album's third single "What Goes Around Comes Around" on the December 16, 2006 episode of “Saturday Night Live,” the same week it debuted at #64 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song is reported to have been inspired by the break-up of his childhood friend and business partner Trace Ayala with actress Elisha Cuthbert.

In October of 2006, Timberlake confirmed that he would focus on his music career rather than his film roles, specifying that it would be a "dumb thing to do at this point" to leave the music industry.

Justin was featured in the 2006 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show for being the special guest performer. Timberlake performed the first single “Sexy Back” at the first part of the show, and later performed a medley of “My Love” and “LoveStoned/I Think She Knows.”

He won two MTV Europe Music Awards in 2006 for Best Male Artist and Best Pop. He also hosted the show in Copenhagen, Denmark in November of 2006.

In January 2007, Timberlake embarked on the FutureSex/LoveShow Tour. According to the sweet escape.com, “Summer Love” is confirmed to be his fourth single off the album as it already has charted on the Pop 100 Airplay at #76.

Branching Out

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. The 2007 line will contain cord jackets, cashmere sweaters, jeans and polo shirts. In 2004, ABC hired Timberlake to write a song for its NBA coverage.

Near the end of 2002, Timberlake was the first celebrity to appear on “Punk'd,” a candid camera type show created by Ashton Kutcher to trick celebrities. Three episodes later, he set up Kelly Osbourne to be "Punk'd," thus making him the first celebrity to appear on the show more than once. Timberlake later spoofed Ashton Kutcher and “Punk'd” in a 2003 episode of NBC's “Saturday Night Live.” In 2006, he hosted the European MTV Music Awards. On December 16, 2006, he hosted “Saturday Night Live,” doing double duty as both host and musical guest for the second time. During this appearance, he and Andy Samberg performed an R&B song for a skit entitled "Dick in a Box," which some radio stations have aired as an unofficial single from Timberlake. The video for “Dick in a Box,” was a U-tube video sensation.

Nickelodeon announced on February 3, 2007, that Timberlake would be the host of the 2007 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.

Timberlake has been given "Sexiest Man" titles by Teen People and Cosmopolitan magazines.

Personal Life and Media Attention

Two early teen romances, first to a school sweetheart and then to aspiring pop singer Veronica Finn predated intense media interest, but both ended unhappily. Timberlake then entered a high-profile celebrity relationship with fellow pop singer Britney Spears, with whom he had worked on the “New Mickey Mouse Club.”

This ended abruptly in March 2002, amidst allegations of Spears' infidelity with choreographer Wade Robson, a mutual friend of Spears and Timberlake. Lynn Harless, Timberlake’s mother, said, as a mother, she too was devastated regarding the break-up, but to this day speaks warmly of Spears, "Britney grew up on my living room floor. I still love her to death. They (Justin and Britney) were together 10 of 11 years and had, from day one, instant chemistry between them. She's a sweet girl. I just hate what she's going through now."

The breakup proved to be positive as it influenced the lyrics and theme of Timberlakes' hit “Cry Me A River” one of the biggest and best performing singles from Justified, and featured a Spears doppleganger in the video. Timberlake stated in Rolling Stone, referring to his breakup with Spears’s: "I may not ever get over her. I really do still love that girl.” He also came out on national television and admitted to having sex with the pop-princess, even though Spears contended that she was still a virgin all along. Later, she was forced to come out to the press and also admitted she had sex with Timberlake.

Timberlake later dated actress-dancer Jenna Dewan (mid 2002) and actress-singer Alyssa Milano (between September and October of 2002). Soon after their breakup, Timberlake began dating actress Cameron Diaz soon after they met at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards in April 2003. Their approximately 10-year age difference made good fodder for the tabloid-fires. They were photographed hundreds of times over the next three years, usually on vacation during activities, even though they attempted to keep their relationship usually very low-profile, and refused to talk about their relationship. However, in late 2006, regular rumors of break-ups began to be reported in the tabloid press and were invariably denied by their respective representatives.

On the December 16, 2006 episode of "Saturday Night Live," Diaz introduced Timberlake as the night's musical guest; however, the couple actually did split up shortly afterwards, and they issued the following joint statement on January 11, 2007: "It has always been our preference not to comment on the status of our relationship, but, out of respect for the time we've spent together, we feel compelled to do so now, in light of recent speculation and the number of inaccurate stories that are being reported by the media. We have, in fact, ended our romantic relationship and have done so mutually and as friends, with continued love and respect for one another."

Since he broke up with Cameron Diaz, he has been romantically linked to Jessica Beil, when he and the Esquire magazine's 2006’s “Most Beautiful Woman Alive,” were seen skiing together. More notably however, it has been rumored that he is dating the star of his new video, “What Goes Around Comes Around,” Scarlett Johansson. The two have been seen several times together in public and the gossip is swirling that the pair are in a relationship.

He has also admitted publicly to using drugs on numerous occasions in interviews done around the time of his sophomore album, FutureSex/LoveSounds’s release, stating that he sees nothing wrong with it: “I've done way too many drugs already. I've already inhaled and I've already ... who knows?” Timberlake told the British magazine Observer Music Monthly, “I'm just like everyone else, I get completely plastered, I've done my fair share of drugs and I've been caught places with my pants down. It's just I make sure there are no cameras around.”

He was, however, quite forthcoming about his use of controlled substances, saying that because of his squeaky-clean image, he’s held to a higher standard than some rockers. “What I really think is that I've never done anything that bad,” he said. “I don't show up drunk to functions and the drugs I do have been in my own private time ... If Courtney Love shows up to a function it's like: ‘Oh that’s Courtney Love,’ but if I show up drunk it's like: ‘Oh my God.’”

Some of Timberlake’s odd idiosyncrasies include, singing himself to sleep, collecting sneakers, having a hefty car collection, including a half a dozen Harley Davidsons, a Mercedes M Class and two Mercedes Benz. He cites his greatest fears as dying unloved, snakes, sharks, spiders and falling unconscious at a concert from the stuffed animals fans throw on stage.

He loves skiing, snowboarding and surfing, which he has been photographed doing several times with his ex Diaz. He is also best friends with his personal assistant, Trace Ayala, whom he introduced to Elisha Cuthbert, and prompted their long-term relationship. He also supposedly wrote the song, “What Goes Around Comes Around” about the blond beauty.

Charity Work and Activism

In October of 2005, the Grammy Association awarded Timberlake for humanitarian efforts in Tennessee, alongside writer/director Craig Brewer, also a Memphis native.

He founded The Justin Timberlake Foundation through the Giving Back Fund. The foundation's goals are similar to the Save the Music Foundation.


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