By now, it’s a given: When Justin Timberlake tells Jay Z to get out his seat, Hov obeys. But for the May 12 season premiere of Oprah’s Master Class, Timberlake lists the risks and rewards that came with breaking away from *NSYNC to launch his solo career. “It was one of the best/worst things I’ve ever done, because it was bittersweet,” he says. “It was hard to kind of say goodbye to that era, but I felt it changing. I felt music changing, and I felt myself changing.”
As he has before, Timberlake talks of how radio programmers and label heads initially laughed off the first single off FutureSex/LoveSounds, “SexyBack.” As revealed last week, though, Michael Jackson helped convince him to take that sort of leap: Timberlake initially wrote *NSYNC’s game-changing “Gone” for Jackson himself. After it was rejected, Timberlake pitched it for the group’s last album Celebrity, only for Jackson to call in hopes of recording “Gone” as a duet with him. “I was literally punching myself,” Timberlake says.
Watch Timberlake talk breaking away with *NSYNC up top, then check out clips showing how confident he is now below. (As Gawker would note, he kicked off the episode by saying, “When you look at me, you should understand that I am America.”)
On hard work:
On bringing “SexyBack”:
On Michael Jackson’s interest in “Gone”:
And for more on how JT rose to the Master Class, take a quick trip through his career evolution care of our friends at Celebuzz:
Get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.