Justin Timberlake Has Already Gone Country, Y’all! Here’s Proof!
Justin Timberlake has fueled speculation that he's "going country" by revealing a very rural-looking Man of the Woods album teaser video and album cover, but why is this news? He is country, according to his producer. He has long gone country!
No, Timberlake hasn't released a Nashville-certified, pure country album, but the pop singer has been playing with the idea for ... forever! Here you'll find five moments from the 36-year-old's life that were inspired by Music City, including duets with some of the genre's biggest stars and one solo performance that leaves little doubt that he was born to boogie.
It's not clear if Justin Randall Timberlake was named after Hank Williams Jr. (Real name: Randall Hank Williams), but the two are friends, as you'll soon learn. More speculation that JT is going country comes from evidence of a co-write with Little Big Town, his continuing bromance with Chris Stapleton, that he played and produced the multi-genre, country and Americana friendly Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival in 2017 and that he told a radio station in May 2016 that his album was inspired by the state he was raised in, Tennessee.
Need more proof?
How about producer Timbaland boldly stating in a 2015 interview with TMZ that he and Timberlake "are country" based on their raising. "But now it’s a new generation of country," he said.
"‘Drink You Away‘ was done on The 20/20 Experience. It’s now one of the biggest songs. But we always wanted to do country music. We thought some of our lyrics were country," he added. Timbaland would go on to say how he was looking for ways to break into the genre further— remember, he produced Little Big Town's Wanderlust album in 2016 and worked with Brad Paisley on Love and War (2017).
Then there's Timberlake's own less-than-veiled insinuations. In 2013 he told SiriusXM The Highway host Storme Warren that he considered "Drink You Away" to be a country song. "I still got my eyes set on a Best Country Album, there is time for that," he said.
Skeptics will point out that many pop stars offer something to country music fans to help market a new album (Beyonce, Lady Gaga), but Timberlake's promotional efforts are right up the country fan's alley. We live that life! He's set to headline the Super Bowl halftime show next month, just two days after the Man of the Woods release date (Feb. 2). Could a Chris Stapleton duet be a part of the festivities? Maybe a Garth Brooks duet is more likely? The two are friends, after all. You remember that time Brooks went out of his way to sing Happy Birthday to JT, right?
Both Timberlake and Timbaland clearly want to make a country album, and Man of the Woods could be that Album of the Year contender. Americana at the very least, don't you think? If it looks like a duck and talks like a duck ... Man of the Woods is unlikely to alienate Timberlake's longtime pop fans, but don't be surprised if there are a few outright country songs when it drops — or a unique blend of country and Americana. That's something Timbaland has had an eye on for quite awhile.
*Update: Timberlake has confirmed Chris Stapleton is a part of Man of the Woods.
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