Justin Timberlake has had a jampacked couple of months, with the release of his first solo album, Justified, the constant scrutiny about who he is or isn’t shtupping, rehearsals for co-hosting the MTV Movie Awards and furious prepping for the U.S. leg of his summer tour with Christina Aguilera. Before that kicks off, though, he has taken a quick spin through Europe. It is the first time he has hit the stage without four guys next to him, which was daunting, he admits, but he appears to be over it. “It’s been pretty damn fun,” he says during a stop in England. “The outcome has been way more than I could have ever hoped for. And they sing every song.” And now, a chat with the man whom Pharrell Williams calls a dope individual.
How’s it going in England?
Honestly? It’s crazy over here. This is my first [solo] tour. I don’t know, maybe I should have done clubs instead of this. It’s madness — the schedule, the touring, the demand. The dynamic is completely different than what I’m used to, you know what I mean? You’re in a different territory — just being out of America, it gives you kind of this weird, anxious feeling. Before my feet hit the stage, I was like, “Uh, I wonder how this is going to go?” And then, of course, as soon as the lights were up and the crowd was into it, I was OK.
I do some bits, some stuff that I wrote for the group. A lot of the stuff I kept in medley form because I wanted the show to feel continuous. I hate going to a show and feeling like it’s a recital. I’d rather it feel continuous, like a club. You go to a club and the DJ doesn’t stop, he just spins from one song to the next.
What’s been the best rumor you’ve heard about yourself lately?
Well, the playboy rumors are funny. They call me “trouser snake” here now. At first I was like, “What does that mean?” Trouser snake! Honestly, I don’t read the stuff anymore.
But most of it is positive.
Most of it, yeah. I’m not on heroin or cocaine yet in the press, so . . .
Well, you’re young.
Yeah. There’s room to grow.
What song do you think Christina should cover?
You know, the cool thing about Christina is she can basically do so many things with her voice. You hear “Beautiful” and you hear “Fighter,” and you’re like, “Wow, these are two different people.” You know what would be really cool to hear Christina do? Something by Billie Holiday.
What’s the biggest misconception about her?
People think she’s a lot more ghetto than she is. Because she’s got the diva voice, you automatically think that she’s a diva because that’s supposed to come with it. For the most part, she’s more reserved than most people would think.