Justin Timberlake Talks Dropping Genre Labels in Beats 1 Interview: 'I'm Going To Do Whatever I Want'

Courtesy Photo
Justin Timberlake and Zane Lowe on Beats 1

Recent family man Justin Timberlake is ready to show a new side of him in his upcoming Man of the Woods album. As someone who has always been interested in experimenting with new sounds, he wants to take his fans on a sonic journey with a focus on his Southern roots.

In his latest interview with Zane Lowe on Beats 1, among other topics, Timberlake discusses how he got to the point where he is confident enough to let go of genre labels and make music that feels right.

“I was like, ‘Wow I really made an R&B album.’ I really wanted to make an R&B album,” he said of his 2006 record Justified. “Then every review was like ‘pop album, pop album, pop album’ and it really did put in my brain that if I’m always going to be looked at as a pop artist, more than anything, what does that mean?”

At that point, Timberlake let go of the classifications and made it about himself: “I just felt like, ‘Let me do whatever the f--- I want.’ I’m going to do whatever I want.”

Soon after, he met up with major producer Timbaland and discussed an idea the “Suit and Tie” singer was deeply interested in—“new wave sonics” and redefining dance music.

Man of the Woods, which he described as “the most introspective album I made,” Timberlake says was born after years of conversation with Pharrell and record label deals that prevented the two music powerhouses from working together.  

 “There’s this sonic real estate that’s so available. [Pharrell] kept pushing me and pushing me to say, ‘No but you’re the guy who has to do it because you’re from there,’” Timberlake said about the more Southern Americana flavor of the upcoming record. “You can put a positive thing out there about the South and we can do it with sound. He kept telling me, ‘I can hear it.’”

Man of the Woods is available February 2. See the full interview below, with the above mentioned portion beginning at the 9-minute mark.