Justin Timberlake almost had a chance to work with Michael Jackson before the King of Pop passed away.
The former ‘N Sync heartthrob opened up about his life and career for Oprah Winfrey’s Master Class series. Not only did Timberlake discuss how much his parents influenced his work ethic, he also discussed the time he had to turn down a duet with Michael Jackson.
Here’s what happened: Justin Timberlake penned the tune “Gone” for the Jackson, though the “Beat It” singer ultimately rejected the song. Instead of stuffing it into a desk drawer and moving on, Timberlake decided to record “Gone” for the group’s final album Celebrity.
After ‘N Sync recorded the song, Justin received a call from Michael Jackson about a possible duet. Unfortunately, the King of Pop had his heart set on recording “Gone.” Since Timberlake didn’t want to insult his bandmates by re-recording the song with Jackson, he ultimately had to turn down the offer.
“He said he wanted to cut the record, but he wanted it to be a duet between himself and I. And I said, ‘Well, it’s already out, we’ve already cut the song as an ‘N SYNC record.’ I’m on the phone and I’m literally punching myself in the face,” Timberlake explained.
He continued, “I said, ‘I can’t do that. Can we do, like, ‘N Sync featuring Michael Jackson, or Michael Jackson featuring ‘N Sync?’ And he was very absolute about the fact that he wanted it to be a duet between himself and I.”
According to Billboard, it was during this period that Justin Timberlake decided to embark on a solo career. After all, there’s nothing like getting an offer from Michael Jackson for a duet to signal that you’ve arrived.
“I think it’s the first idea I ever got about doing something on my own, because it was the first time I have ever really felt the confidence to do it,” Justin explained.
Although he didn’t get to record a song with Michael Jackson while the singer was still alive, Timberlake did contribute vocals to the King of Pop’s posthumous single “Love Never Felt So Good.” The tune appears on the upcoming album Xscape, which is the first batch of “new” songs to hit retail shelves following Jackson’s death in 2009. The record arrives on May 13.
Are you a fan of Justin Timberlake? Are you surprised the singer turned down a chance to record a duet with Michael Jackson?
[Image via Bing]