Justin Timberlake sits down with Variety for an extensive cover-story interview, and he opens up about his upcoming album of new material, recorded with Pharrell.
“I wouldn’t say [my new material] is the antithesis of ’20/20,’ but it does sound more singular,” he says. “If ’20/20′ sounded like it literally surrounds your entire head, this stuff feels more like it just punches you between the eyes.”
He adds: “I think everyone I’m working with right now knows that I’m notorious for being like, ‘Yeah let’s work. I have no idea when I’ll put it out, though,'” he says. “I’ll put it out when it’s done — when it feels right.”
In addition, Pharrell opens up about working JT. “For the biggest pop stars in the world, the place where they have the most trouble is honesty,” says Pharrell. “It’s hard for them to know that the beauty of a record, the sweetest spot in the song, is where they show vulnerability. Because there’s a formulaic sort of vulnerability, like, ‘Baby, I can’t sleep without you…’ and that’s not really it. But if you’re able to really screenshot your own vulnerability, and frame it properly, and colour-correct it, then it becomes something that every human can relate to. And I think Justin is in the place where he’s mastering that right now.”
In fact, the “Sexyback” singer admits that the best part of his job is being able to please his fans. “But the more I go through this — making people laugh, and making people feel — it’s an amazing thing to be a part of,” he says. “I get a gift out of it. When you’re younger, sometimes you can’t see that gift; I think that’s how some people in our industry become so megalomaniacal, in a way: It’s easy to be made to feel like, ‘I made all this happen.’ But you didn’t. You were just there for it. That’s what I feel like whenever I write a song. I was just there for it.”
You can read more with Justin Timberlake in the latest issue of Variety.