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The Artist Who Never Takes His Eye Off The Show

Justin Randall Timberlake is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and actor. You’ve gotta wonder how Justin Timberlake does it. Star Search, The Mickey Mouse Club, teen-pop pinup, making the leap from boy to man and sticking the landing without a squeak. A deadpan loverman working at the vanguard of pop and R&B, yes, but also a member of the Five-Timers Club on Saturday Night Live and a regular voice in kids’ movies—the artist who never takes his eye off the show. The best tracks here aren’t just good pop (though they are that), they’re cultural barometers, a map of the ground pop has covered during the 2000s and 2010s. From the futuristic to the charmingly retro, the dance-floor fillers to the windswept ballads, here’s the best of JT.

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Often referred to as the ”Prince of Pop”, he is regarded as one of the most influential entertainers of his generation. Timberlake is known for his diverse artistry in showmanship, vocal performances, songwriting, and musical production. He is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, including ten Grammy Awards, four Primetime Emmy Awards, three Brit Awards, nine Billboard Music Awards, the Contemporary Icon Award by the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and MTV’s Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. According to Billboard, Timberlake is the best-performing male solo artist in the history of the Mainstream Top 40.

Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Timberlake appeared on musical television shows as a child, competing on Star Search; in the early to mid-1990s, he was a main cast member of Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club, performing cover songs and choreography. While on the show, Timberlake would work with future fellow bandmate JC Chasez, as well as future pop cultural figures including Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Keri Russell and Ryan Gosling. Timberlake and Chasez eventually rose to prominence in late 1997 as the lead vocalists for the boyband *NSYNC. The group released four successful studio albums, becoming one of the best-selling boy bands of all time with selling 70 million records worldwide.

As a solo artist, he has sold over 88 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. Timberlake’s debut solo album, Justified (2002), yielded his first solo hit singles, “Cry Me a River” and “Rock Your Body”. His second album, FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006), reached further success as it debuted atop the US Billboard 200 and spawned three consecutive Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles: “SexyBack” (featuring Timbaland), “My Love” (featuring T.I.) and “What Goes Around… Comes Around”. Established as a solo artist worldwide, his first two albums both exceeded sales of 10 million copies and received triple platinum certification by the RIAA. Concurrently, Timberlake collaborated with other artists on a string of successful songs, including The Lonely Island’s viral hit “Dick in a Box” in 2006, his fourth US number-one single with Timbaland’s “Give It to Me” in 2007, as well as Madonna’s “4 Minutes”, 50 Cent’s “Ayo Technology” and T.I.’s “Dead and Gone” in the following years.

From 2008 through 2012, Timberlake paused his musical career to focus on acting, starring in the films The Love Guru (2008), The Social Network (2010), Bad Teacher (2011), Friends with Benefits (2011), and In Time (2011). He returned to recording in 2013 with his third and fourth albums, The 20/20 Experience and The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2; both of which peaked the Billboard 200 and spawned the Hot 100 top-ten singles “Suit & Tie” (featuring Jay-Z), “Mirrors”, and “Not a Bad Thing”. The 20/20 Experience became the best-selling album of that year. Timberlake voiced the character Branch in DreamWorks’ Trolls franchise; the soundtrack for the first film included his fifth US number-one single, “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”, which earned him an Academy Award nomination. His fifth studio album, Man of the Woods (2018), became his fourth number-one album in the US. Supported by two top-ten singles, “Filthy” and “Say Something” (featuring Chris Stapleton), the album ended 2018 as the sixth best-selling record of the year. Timberlake’s sixth studio album, Everything I Thought It Was, is due for release March 15, 2024, and was preceded by the single “Selfish”.



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