When Justin Timberlake heard the sad news of Bill Withers’ passing on Friday (April 3), he shared a heartbroken tribute to the man he considers “one of my biggest idols”. Little did Timberlake’s fans know, one of his biggest hits is an homage to the legendary singer.
During an interview with SiriusXM Hits 1’s The Morning Mash Up on Thursday morning (April 9), Timberlake talked about how Withers’ “Lovely Day” was the sole inspiration for JT’s Billboard Hot 100-topping Trolls smash “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”.
After reminding that he incorporated a snippet of “Lovely Day” in his 2017 Oscars performance of “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” Timberlake said that when he was writing the song with Max Martin and Shellback several years ago, “I made it very widely known that that was the song that I was trying to… I was trying to capture a little bit of that actual feeling that that song made me feel as a little boy”.
Timberlake went on to share more love for Withers (whom he called “Mr. Bill”), saying that the “Lean on Me” singer was “an R&B great, but he also had this Everyman type of thing about him too”. The “Mirrors” singer added, “You listen to his songs and they’ll live forever because they just speak to your humanity”.
Throughout the rest of the Morning Mash Up interview, Timberlake also discussed Trolls World Tour — which will be available on AppleTV on Friday (April 10) — and being in quarantine with wife Jessica Biel and son Silas (who just turned 5 on April 8). The singer also gushed over Chuck Franzke, the 97-year-old WWII veteran whose “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” dance went viral: “When this quarantine is over, that’s the first person I want to try to find and meet”, he said.
Watch some clips from Timberlake’s interview on SiriusXM Hits 1 below.
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