The Low Down on Justin Timberlake

jt cmas

JT and New Artist of the Year Chris Stapleton break it down at the 2015 CMAs.

Ex-boy bander Justin Timberlake performed at this year’s CMAs and can now be heard on some country music radio stations. As a listener of all genres of music I think that this could actually be an interesting and achievable endeavor for Justin; however, I know that many of you (with little knowledge of JT) might be nervous about this. Never fear, your resident JT expert is here to save the day and fill you in on what you’ve missed throughout his career. Here is the low down on the “soul of Memphis” as Brad Paisley would say.


Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Justin was raised a southern boy with a very distinct southern voice. The world was first introduced to Justin’s talent when he got a spot alongside, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling and other star kids on The Mickey Mouse Club in 1993. On MMC, Justin got immense amounts of training in singing, dancing and acting (all of which he could already do very well). In 1995, Justin would go on to leave MMC at the age of 14 and later that year form superstar boy band *NSYNC.

***Side note: My favorite part of Justin’s career started this year (also happens to be the year I was born). And in just 3 years, I would be able to mutter the words “I love Justin” while I was toddler dancing around watching him and the rest of the boys on my parents TV (back when MTV played music videos 24/7). ***


LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 1999: *NSYNC, (clockwise L) Chris Kirkpatrick, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone, Lance Bass and Justin Timberlake sit for a portrait in Los Angeles 1999. (Photo by Bob Berg/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Chris Kirkpatrick;Justin Timberlake;Joey Fatone;Lance Bass JC Chasez

*NSYNC: Justin with the curly platinum-blond hair on the right, then Lance, Joey, JC and Chris on the left.

*NSYNC: the boy band to end all boy bands. Justin, Joey, JC, Lance and Chris took on the world from ’95 to ’02. Although Justin had previously been on a TV show, which he gained recognition from, he was thrust into the spotlight when he became the non-official lead singer of this group of talented guys. *NSYNC really created a name for Justin in the pop music scene. The Grammy-nominated group reigned victorious in pop music while attracting screaming girls from all over the world.


In 2002 hearts broke everywhere at the dismemberment of *NSYNC; however, Justin quickly arose from the ashes of boy-bands-who-were and started producing solo albums and acting in major Hollywood films. He has won more awards as a solo artist, including nine Grammy’s, than with his boy band. As his emergence as a solo artist prevailed, he proved that he was not only a pop artist but also could pull some R&B and soulful vibes, as well. This southern boy has proved himself in more areas than many hopeful singers and actors can think of in a lifetime.

jt and brit

The early 2000s power couple, Britney and Justin. (And look at that cowboy hat… Ready for country music, am I right?)


Justin is a man of few flaws (in my eyes) which comes from his pretty squeaky clean image. His portrayal in the media from his *NSYNC days was the cute, blond, curly headed boy dating Britney Spears and making girls cry as he walked by. He was perfect. Today his image remains the same. His very public friendship with Jimmy Fallon makes him funny, his recent marriage to Jessica Biel makes him desirable but unattainable and his overall career in music, movies and TV makes him well rounded and an admirable celebrity.


During the 2015 CMAs, Justin took the stage with New Artist of the Year winner Chris Stapleton to take on Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey” and later his own “Drink You Away” (a very country sounding song, if you ask me). Well, you don’t have to ask me because apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so. The CMA audience liked Justin’s performance so much that “Drink You Away,” a song released in 2013 shot up on the iTunes charts and is now getting airtime on country radio.

So what’s to come of Justin Timberlake in country music? No one can be sure but from what we know of him and his career and his sound, we can be sure that it won’t suck. Nope, not one bit. I think this southern Tennessee boy has covered everything except country, so honestly it’s time.


Filed under Awards, Blog Post 4, Live Music, Movies and TV

16 Responses to The Low Down on Justin Timberlake

  1. Alyssa Buchanan

    Justin is my favorite. He can seriously do it all, as you have so eloquently pointed out. I’m not surprised that he is jumping into something new, because that seems to be a regular pattern for him. Hs performance at the CMA’s (although I did not see it live) was a huge hit and was most definitely the best way to get an inside with the country music fans. The picture you included of Justin and Britney is hilarious, I wish he had worn that at the CMA’s. He is seriously so likable that I think he will actually be able to have a successful try at being a country artist, even if its short lived.

  2. Stephanie Sebo

    I never realized how much I liked Justin Timberlake until I saw that amazing picture of him in the denim suit. Very good job with that, by the way. I do also agree with the fact that he broke many of our hearts when he left NSYNC. That boy band sculpted my childhood. It always amazes me that he started his career at such a young age. I think that being in the spotlight that young must have been hard, but he seems to have handled his life very well. He seems like a good role model for lots of people.

  3. Sierra Smith

    Kayla, I was intrigued to read your post because it mentions Justin Timberlake performing at the CMAs. Not going to lie, I was skeptical about him performing with Chris Stapleton, but once I saw it, it was much better than I thought it was going to be. It is so weird for me to see Justin trying to integrate himself within the country music genre now especially because I associate him mostly with pop music ever since his glory days while being a part of the popular boy band *NSYNC. I agree with you that Justin is a triple threat in that he can dance, act, and sing. Therefore, after the CMA’s convinced me of his potential to strive within this genre, I think that only good things could come him trying to pursue a career in country music.

  4. Lauren Harris

    I love Justin Timberlake. I think he is so incredibly talented and not so bad looking. I loved this post because Justin has had a long and all over the place career. He was born to be a star with the Mickey Mouse Club. Hs NSYNC days were maybe not his best look but everyone loves an NSYNC song every once in awhile. When I was watching his performance on the CMA Awards I was blown away. He was the best performance of the night by far. Because of his Nashville roots I could totally see him recording a country album. JT can do anything he sets his mind too. I would love to see him take on country.

  5. John Monroe

    When I saw on YouTube that Justin had performed at the CMAs I thought for sure that the Country Music industry had finally gone off of the rails. Skeptically I watched the performance and actually enjoyed the performance but I wasn’t entirely convinced it was country. It seemed like a lot of pop and rock to me. The success and celebration that this brought made me concerned about the direction country is headed, becuase I thought for sure it was on its way back to a new neo-traditionalist movement… but I guess not. Maybe I’m behind the times

  6. Morgan Lohmeier

    This is a very well written post! I enjoyed reading about the background of Justin. I have never been a fan of JT mainly because I DESPISED NSYNC with a passion. Therefore, I could never stand Justin. When he went solo I still hated his music. Then, he decided to become an actor and I was still not a fan. I have always thought of him as a follower, wanting to do whatever would make him the most popular in the moment. But he’s got talent, that’s for sure. He just is all over the board so he really doesn’t have a true identity. I’m not sure the country music scene is going to be where he finds his home.

  7. Laura Morales

    I listen to some of Justin Timberlake’s music but I didn’t really know a lot about his history, so it was really interesting to read more about what he had done before he was in *NSYNC and become a pop icon. I also was not aware (until I read this post) that he had performed at the CMAs with Chris Stapleton. When I read the first sentence, I didn’t know what I would think of the performance. I know he has an undeniable talent, so he would do the song justice, but I still didn’t know how to feel considering he was doing a country song in front of other country music artists. He managed to pull it off well and both songs seemed to blend well, but it seemed kind of like a blend of genres. The music had a pop rock feel and towards the end it had a soulful feel when they were singing “drink you away”. I think that JT was trying to give it a bit of a country feel with the way he was singing it but it was not entirely a country performance. I think that he could pull off a country album or at least a song. When he tries to add the ‘twang , it makes him sound a bit “country”. Also, he’s obviously influenced by Memphis, since he mentions it at the beginning of the performance, so he’d have some country roots to rely on!

  8. Paige Hinkle

    When I first heard about Justin Timberlake performing at the CMA’s I was also very curious what his performance would be like. He is obviously a very talented performer, but is well known for *NSYNC and pop music which is not known to be similar to country. He has a higher pitched voice than some of the more traditional male country singers which adds a unique twist. Country music has always been intertwined with pop music and many pop artists, such as Taylor Swift, have country roots so it’s no surprise that JT also falls in this category. Adding in elements from other types of music has lead to a new and innovative sound.

  9. Lee Allen

    Justin Timberlake has always been one of my favorite, if not my favorite artist. My favorite thing about him has got to be his bromance with Jimmy Fallon, being proof that these people that we nearly admire are humans just like us, who make fun of each other and have un-scripted fun. There are obvious reasons, including his likability and generous smile, that people are so in love with him, but not everyone knows about his upbringing. I was stunned when I learned how big of an Elvis admirer he was, and how important country music is to him, mostly because I’ve known who JT was for all of my life, and I thought I had him figured out. He’s a very complex guy, talent-wise, but his numerous talents somehow make his attributes all fall into place.

  10. sy6422

    Who doesn’t like Justin Timberlake? He is by far one of my favorite artists. Although I was too young to know him from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, I still remember jamming to all of the *NSYNC albums in elementary school. When I was watching the CMAs and heard that Justin would be performing I got really excited and also a little confused because this pop, r&b artist doesn’t fit the country description. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I heard Justin and Chris Stapleton rendition of the song “Tennessee Whiskey.” When Justin sings it doesn’t sound country at all but it worked because these days most “country” songs aren’t “country” sounding.

  11. Kevin Lefkowitz

    Justin Timberlake is one of the most talented people in pop culture America today. He can sing, dance, act, and do pretty much anything he wants to do. Though he sounds good in “Tennessee Whiskey”, I’m not sure what he’s doing as a feature in a country music blog. He has contributed very little to the industry and doesn’t “sound” very country. Unless he dramatically changes his style, I cannot imagine ever listening to him on country radio. That said, Darius Rucker made a great transition and is a great country singer. I don’t think he will, but if Justin Timberlake wants to, he can use his talents to become a country star.

  12. Joseph Schooling

    Justin Timberlake is one of my favorite performers. There’s not much he can’t do. However, I don’t think he can fit into the country scene. Personally, he just doesn’t give off that certain vibe. I’ve seen him perform so much pop and R&B that he could never be a country singer in my eyes. I really liked NSYNC as a kid. I used to ask my parents for their albums and music videos. I’m pretty sure my parents knew the lyrics to most of their songs after a while. I agree with what Kevin says. Although he sounded decent performing “Drink you Away”, that “Pop-Hollywood” star image in my mind still takes over and then I wonder to myself, “What is he doing? This sounds kinda weird.” I say stick to pop and acting because he’s doing too well to change.

  13. Mackenzi McAfee

    In my mind, Justin Timberlake is easily one of the most talented and unique artists I have ever been interested in. From dancing, acting, and singing, there quite literally is nothing he cannot do. Like so many other young girls, I fell in love with Justin through NSYNC and have been a forever fan ever since. I totally support Justin’s slight introduction into country music and I strongly believe he can and will be successful in whatever I tries to do. He is a crowd pleaser there is not a doubt in my mind that just an unbelievably talented musician can actually sing anything he wants and be a hit.

  14. mjh3964

    As a reader who was only loosely familiar with the history of America’s true sweetheart, I found the embedded videos extremely helpful on my journey to fully understanding the real Justin Timberlake. The concluding lines really captivated my attention as you wrote “No one can be sure but from what we know of him and his career and his sound, we can be sure that it won’t suck.” I would agree with the statement, but I can’t figure out why someone as talented as JT would settle for “won’t suck.” I really liked the post, but am also hoping that Justin doesn’t attempt a reverse Taylor Swift.

  15. Timothy Harakal

    First of all, I had no idea he got his start as a part of Mickey Mouse Club. Wow. Second of all, JT started NSYNC as a 14-yr old? I was struggling to make Region Choir at the same age this guy made major moves to engender his meteoric rise to fame. And lastly, that collabo with Chris Stapleton sounded not as much country to me as it did classic Justin Timberlake – the constant riffing, the syncopated, quickly-sung lyrics in the chorus, the vamping and well-timed production of it all. He has such an incredible voice with exceptional range and control; however, hearing his more nasally, pop tone with frequent falsetto (or at least absurdly high chest voice) compared to the grittier vocals of Stapleton still makes me wonder if country is a genre in which JT could really hit his stride. But hey, it’s JT, so who knows?

  16. Erin McWilliams

    Justin went from a quadruple to a quintuple threat, or maybe even more than that. We saw his versatility at his break from MMC to *NSYNC, to his solo career and roles in numerous (BIG) films. Then comes his first guest appearance on Saturday Night Live in 2003 and WTH he’s funny, too? That hardly seems fair. And all through this we see that he appears to be a pretty clean guy; no messed-up relationships with crazy girls and he ends up marrying this classy dime (Jessica Biel). So, yeah. He’s a man of many talents and it would shock me if this was all he had to offer. Add country into the mix? Definitely believable. Especially when he’s proven himself consistently in all other areas (boy can even rap). It’s in his Memphis blood! It was just waiting to come out.

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