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Justin Timberlake Recalls Fighting For ‘Sexy Back’ To Be His Lead Single, *NSYNC Breakup

Justin Timberlake is looking back at one of the biggest songs of his career.

During a chat with Zane Lowe for Apple Music the 39-year-old musician revealed he fought for “Sexy Back” to be his lead single on his 2006 album. Timberlake enlisted Timberland for the iconic song, which was featured on his FutureSex/LoveSounds record.

“When I brought the album in, I said, ‘This is the first single’,” he said of the catchy tune. “Everybody told me I was crazy. They’re like, ‘It’s too fast’. I’m like, ‘Okay’. Like, ‘It doesn’t sound like you’. I’m like, ‘Okay’. They’re like, ‘It doesn’t have your signature falsetto’. I’m like, ‘Okay’. And I say, ‘Every reason why you think that that’s why it’s wrong, I think it’s right’.”

And while writing the track, Timberlake and Timberland found common ground on the music that inspired the tune.

“If I give you the references, they won’t make sense”, Timberlake said. “I was listening to Bowie. And I was listening to ‘Rebel Rebel’, and Tim was on a Talking Heads trip as well. That’s why, he’s basically doing his David Byrne”.

“When I was writing that song, I wanted it to be … I was listening to ‘Rebel Rebel’, which essentially is about a cross-dresser, right?” he continued. “And so I was picturing guys, girls, all iterations of that, in a club, singing this to each other. And I said, ‘This has to be so simple and a vibe and just, like, an attitude’. And I was like, ‘What’s the most audacious thing you could possibly say?’ You know what I mean? And that was the first line of the song”.

“SexyBack” became JT’s first solo number one on Billboard’s Hot 100. It stayed at the top of the chart for seven weeks and sold more than 17 million units worldwide.

Timberlake also recalled the “big news” of *NSYNC’s breakup, claiming it wasn’t actually “big news” at all.

“At that time, everyone had aspirations of doing other things, and we had talked about it”, he told Lowe. “When I was 10-years-old, my dream was to have my own record”.

He added, “There’s no reason my solo career and *NSYNC can’t coexist in the same universe. *NSYNC is in no danger. The break we’re on was a conscious move… we all wanted to do it”.

Entertainment Tonight Canada

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