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Justin Timberlake

Sexy Is Back 

He has stolen the heart of many through his innumerable talents: singing, acting, comedy, likability, style, dance, and…well, his ‘N Sync days and head of gold curls might have had something to do with it too.

Justin Timberlake has kept a relatively low profile during the past couple of years, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been working. He’s been actively preparing to perform at the Super Bowl LII Pepsi Halftime Show on February 4th in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is big for JT fans, considering the fact that his last album was in 2013. Many are hoping he premieres some new music at the show to make an epic comeback. Others are excited for different reasons, debating whether or not controversy will be caused like his last Super Bowl performance in 2004. We all remember the notorious moment that basically created the term “wardrobe malfunction.” Janet Jackson won’t be making a return to the Super Bowl stage this year, but Justin is ready to steal the show all on his own. “What I really want to do is take the opportunity to put together a performance that feels like it unifies,” Justin expressed, “I feel like that would be the ultimate accomplishment, and then the icing on the cake is at some point, within that 12 minutes, that everybody is shaking their booty.”

Speaking of new music, Timberlake is set to release an album this year as well. Renowned producer Timbaland and singer/producer Pharrell are already on board and both have confirmed that the upcoming project is being worked on. Timbaland expressed that it will “put [Timberlake] on another plateau.” Undoubtedly it will, as JT has teamed up with both producers in the past and nothing short of pure magic was created.

“Sexy, to me, is the way you carry what you have. I have a big nose, but I rock it.”

It’s not surprising that Justin hasn’t released an album in a while; building anticipation between his albums is a move that he seems to favorite. In 2006, FutureSex/LoveSounds came onto the scene where it debuted at #1 and sold about 684,000 copies. This broke the record for the most digital records sold in one week. The album skyrocketed JT into “Number One” territory with a trio of first place songs like “My Love,” “SexyBack,” and “What Goes Around…Comes Around.” Fans expected another album soon after considering what a huge success it was. Instead, he pulled an anticipation move, letting his 2006 album stay on repeat until 2013. After those seven years, he released The 20/20 Experience, which also became a widely popular album. At the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, he took home three wins for Best R&B Song, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “Holy Grail” featuring Jay-Z, and Best Music Video for “Suit & Tie.”

The bar is set high for his upcoming 2018 album. However, even if new music isn’t premiered at the Super Bowl Halftime Show, it will definitely be a night to remember. Timberlake has at least one recent hit he can perform, “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” the theme of the 2017 Trolls movie. The song went on to win a Grammy for Best Song Written for Visual Media, and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song. When discussing the inspiration for the upbeat song, Timberlake glows with happiness. He credits the song’s creation to his two-year-old son, Silas Randall, who was ecstatic when the song came out and grew in popularity. “Watching him jump around to ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling!’ starting to learn words because of that song — it’s the best thing in the world,” he confesses.

“You’re not meant to do what’s easy, you’re meant to challenge yourself.”

Silas was born in 2015 as Justin’s first child. He expresses that being a father has taught him a lot, and has definitely shifted his priorities. Part of the reason why he hasn’t been quick to produce another album is because of his focus on family. It means everything to him, especially his wife, actress Jessica Biel. “She is the single-handedly most significant person in my life. In my 30 years, she is the most special person,” Timberlake gushed. Biel and Timberlake met in a very Hollywood way at the 2007 Golden Globes through a mutual friend. Flirting right from the start, it led Timberlake to pursue her by asking her on a date via telephone. He calls himself “old-fashioned” in doing so, but clearly, it worked! Biel and Timberlake went on to have a long on-again/off-again relationship, with the tabloids eating it all up. America was decidedly in love with the couple, spawning interviews and paparazzi chases whenever they broke up or got back together. They called it quits in 2011 with a statement released to the public. Fans of the power couple thought they were over for good, but a big surprise came one year later in January 2012. Timberlake proposed to Biel after they had been secretly seeing each other for a number of months. Not long after, on October 19th, 2012, the couple got married in Italy, where Justin serenaded her with a song written just for her. Today, the couple remains happily married, working together to raise Silas.

It seems as if Justin was always destined to be a creator of music. He first learned to sing in a church in Shleby Forest, Tennessee, where his father was the choir director. It wasn’t long after that before 11-year-old Timberlake starred on the popular 90’s show Star Search in 1992. He attempted to woo the judges with country songs but didn’t win the competition. His determination allowed him to bypass the bump in the road, moving on to the New Mickey Mouse Club. It was on this show that he became friends with soon-to-be superstars Ryan Gosling, Christina Aguilera, and Britney Spears. Acting on the show gave him the exposure he needed to eventually claim the attention of boy-band promoter Lou Pearlman. Once he recruited Timberlake, the rest fell together, with Joey Fatone, Lance Bass, JC Chasez, and Chris Kirkpatrick all coming together to form ‘N Sync. In 1998, their self-titled debut was finally released. It might have been 16-year-old JT’s head of gold curls, or maybe it was the nature of the album itself, designed to make girls swoon, but it became wildly popular, peaking at #2 on the charts.

‘N Sync catapulted their fame even further when they dropped No Strings Attached in 2000, solidifying their names in pop culture forever with “Bye Bye Bye.” Sadly, all boy bands come to an end, and in 2002 they announced a “hiatus,” with each band member moving on to commit to separate roles and careers. Timberlake had discovered his passion for music while in the band and wanted to take it to a more serious level now that he had the freedom he longed for. “I felt like I cared more about the music than some of the other people in the group…I had other music I wanted to make and…I needed to follow my heart,” Justin explained.

Fans that endured a sad “bye, bye, bye” when the band split will be happy to know that they still remain in touch today. No bad blood exists between the members of the former group; they’re actually said to be planning a reunion to celebrate their 20th Anniversary, which is this year. A Hollywood Walk of Fame Star has been in the works to honor the boy band that sent so many hearts sailing through the 90’s. In addition to the Hollywood Star, other 20th Anniversary surprises include a new line with Epic Rights that will put out collectible ‘N Sync items such as clothing, accessories, games and more.

Even though Justin went on to experience immense amounts of good fortune with his solo career, he had a desire to dive into an unfamiliar field. He was interested in acting, whether that be the small screen or the big; although he eventually went for the latter. His first brush with acting was a Disney movie released in 2000 called Model Behavior. But his first notable appearance wasn’t until 2003 when he hosted Saturday Night Live. After becoming good friends with Jimmy Fallon, they collaborated on a skit on the show titled the “Barry Gibb Talk Show”, which became an all-time favorite of SNL fans. He returned to SNL five more shows after that, his performance getting stronger each time.

He eventually became desired in movie roles due to these SNL skits. One of his bigger parts that garnered attention was 2011’s Friends with Benefits where he acted alongside Mila Kunis. “On SNL, he was so funny and natural and likable and encapsulated so many different characters. I just knew this guy was really good,” director Will Gluck admitted about casting Justin. Right after Friends with Benefits came the 2011 sci-fi thriller In Time, where he acted alongside Amanda Seyfried in a “race for time.”

Timberlake had started his acting career off slowly, with small parts in 2006 films Black Snake Moan and Alpha Dog. It wasn’t until 2010’s The Social Network that his acting career really seemed promising. It was in this movie that he played real-life Sean Parker, causing many to believe that Timberlake’s performance was worthy of a Best Supporting Actor nomination. Although it didn’t happen, it showed that people were beginning to notice his acting talents. The Social Network allowed Justin to gain some leverage to build his acting career off of. As he puts it, “There are two parts to my acting career: before The Social Network and after.”

Justin’s most recent movie was a surprise to many when they saw who was directing it. Wonder Wheel, which premiered in theaters December 1st, 2017, was written and directed by Woody Allen, who is known as a screenwriting legend in the film-industry. His latest film takes place in the 1950’s on Coney Island beach, where Timberlake plays Mickey, the lifeguard who narrates the story. It revolves around Ginny (Kate Winslet) and her unhappy marriage; not to mention her affair with Mickey in between the narration. “I can’t really say that doing a Woody Allen movie was ever on my bucket list,” he says, “because I never even thought that doing a Woody Allen movie might be a possibility.”

So which passion will Justin pursue in the future? Can we expect him to be on his way to movie stardom? Or will he keep taking his time with albums, releasing hit after hit? When trying to call to mind a picture of what his future entails, Justin is unsure.

“I want to do both things,” he says. “I really do idolize the golden era of Hollywood, when actors were required to sing and move. But I’m just following my gut in the decisions that I make about what I’m going to do next.”

Continuing his hot movie streak, Justin actually has two more projects that are in the works: Trolls 2, set to come out in 2020, and Spinning Gold, a biopic about 1970’s record producer Neil Bogart. Add these two projects to his already busy agenda including his upcoming album, the Super Bowl Halftime Show, ‘N Sync’s 20th Anniversary, and the reaction towards his recent movie, and it seems that he has lots to keep him busy. Whatever his gut decides, he is not one to disappoint—he always knows how to put on a show. Don’t worry JT, as long as you’ve got your suit and tie, you’ll be fine!

By Aaliyah Pasols