Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake defied expectations about former singers of '90s-era boy bands with a solo musical career that netted four consecutive No. 1 albums and numerous Grammy Awards, as well as a well-regarded acting career that included "The Social Network" (2011) and "Trolls"(2016). Born Justin Randall Timberlake in Memphis, Tennessee on January 31, 1981, he sang and performed as a child, and made his television debut as a contestant on "Star Search" (syndicated, 1983-1995, 2003-04) while only 11 years of age. Country and gospel was his initial focus, but in his teenaged years, he discovered the smooth soul of Al Green and Donny Hathaway, and the country-tinged pop/rock of the Eagles. In 1993, he was recruited as a cast member for "The All-New Mickey Mouse Club" (Disney Channel, 1989-1993), a revamp of the '50s-era variety series that also served as a talent incubator for numerous teen-pop performers and actors; among its cast members were Timberlake's one-time girlfriend, Britney Spears, singer Christina Aguilera, and actors Ryan Gosling and Keri Russell. When the series ran its course, Timberlake teamed with another "Mickey Mouse Club" star, JC Chasez, to form a pop vocal group. Managed by Florida-based promoter Lou Pearlman - who also oversaw the Backstreet Boys and Spears and Aguilera's pop careers - NSYNC sold 11 million copies of its self-titled 1998 debut album, which minted them as one of the leading acts in the "boy band" phenomenon of the late '90s. Its follow-ups, No Strings Attached (2000) and Celebrity proved equally successful, but by the time of the latter release, the fizz had already gone out of the teen-pop sound. NSYNC was put on hiatus while its members pursued individual projects; for Timberlake, this meant songwriting with producers Pharrell Williams and TImbaland, which resulted in a Top 20 single, "Like I Love You" in 2002. His debut solo album, Justified, was released later that same year, and coasted to platinum sales status on the strength of such Top 5 singles as "Cry Me a River" - penned by Timberlake after his breakup with Spears - and "Rock Your Body." During this period, Timberlake was also a frequent guest on "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ), where his natural ease and quick wit in front of cameras would earn him Emmy Awards for musical parodies in 2009 and 2011; this in turn led to acting roles in several independent films, including "Alpha Dog" (2007) and voice-over work for "Shrek the Third" (2007). The forward momentum of his solo career was briefly interrupted by a headline-grabbing moment at Super Bowl XXXVIII when Timberlake accidentally revealed singer Janet Jackson's breast during their performance on the halftime show. After issuing a public apology, Timberlake released his second solo effort, FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006), which debuted at the top of the Billboard albums chart, while its Grammy-winning lead single, "SexyBack," echoed its placement for seven consecutive weeks on the Hot 100. Two subsequent singles, "My Love" and "What Goes Around Comes Around," followed suit, while a collaboration with TImbaland and Nelly Furtado titled "Give It To Me" provided him with another No. 1 single. But Timberlake would not release another solo album for the next five years, preferring instead to focus on collaborations with other artists as songwriter, producer and/or co-vocalist; chief among these was the 2007 single "4 Minutes" with Madonna, the global Top 10 hit "Love Sex Magic" with Ciara in 2009, and writing for Rihanna's Rated R album that same year. He also expanded his film appearances, netting solid reviews as Napster founder Sean Parker in David Fincher's "The Social Network" (2010) and as Mila Kunis's romantic partner in the comedy "Friends with Benefits" (2011). His third solo album, The 20/20 Experience, finally saw the light of day in 2012; it, too, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard albums chart, and eventually became the year's best-selling album in the United States. Timberlake's success streak went unbroken in the years that followed: his fourth solo LP, The 20/20 Experience - 2 of 2 (2013), debuted at the top album slot, and Timberlake netted three Grammys in 2013, including Best R&B Song for the single "Pusher Love Girl." He also collaborated on-screen with the Coen Brothers on the folk music drama "Inside Llewyn Davis" (2013) and Woody Allen in "Wonder Wheel" (2017), and shared top billing with Anna Kendrick as voice-over talent for the DreamWorks Animation feature "Trolls" (2016), and provided the film with its end title track, "Can't Stop the Feeling" which gave him his eighth No. 1 single. That same year, he announced his fifth solo album, Man of the Woods. Named for his son, Silas, from his 2012 marriage to actress Jessica Biel, the 2018 album's mix of country, rock and soul yielded fewer hit songs - the lead single, "Filthy," rose no higher than No. 9 - but the album itself was a chart-topping release and placed sixth on the list of 2018's best-selling albums. Timberlake was soon at work on voice and music for the "Trolls" sequel, "Trolls World Tour" (2020).