Photo: Getty Images
By Kathleen Perricone
Justin Timberlake made the long-distance call from Denmark to On Air with Ryan Seacrest on Tuesday morning to talk about his brand new song with Michael Jackson, “Love Never Felt So Good” … and he dropped a serious music history bombshell on us, as well.
As for the duet with the King of Pop, the “TKO” singer explains, ”I found out about the whole project through [producer] Timbaland,” who was set to work with MJ until his untimely death in 2009.
Eventually, Epic Records CEO L.A. Reid got involved and “he had access to a lot of material that he had previously recorded and I think what they found was that there an abundance of material, and Tim kind of told me about the project and said he was overseeing the project … and we were kind of working on things here and there in the studio and he started playing me some of the songs and goading me to get on a song.”
But Justin wasn’t initially jumping at the chance to become a part of the Xscape project.
“My first reaction was, ‘There is no way’ … I’m such a loyal fan to him and his music that it seemed almost too much of a thing, but then I kept hearing this song and … it just felt so good … It kind of spoke to me. It reminded me of some of the stuff Tim and I had worked on on 20/20 Experience.”
But Justin and Michael’s history goes back even further.
“Interestingly enough, there were songs on the last *NSYNC album … one song in particular, “Gone,” originally I wrote that song for Michael. I’ve always been a big fan of him and I think back to … it made me reminisce to the times he performed at the VMAs with *NSYNC, where we performed at Madison Square Garden with him, and the numerous meetings I had had with him in the past just about music.”
So why didn’t MJ record “Gone,” which went on to become one of *NSYNC’s biggest singles? “I don’t know if he just never heard the record, couldn’t get it to him … or he heard it and maybe didn’t want to record it,” Justin jokes. “I kind of got word that he had never heard the record.”
As for re-working “Love Never Felt So Good,” which Michael first recorded as a demo in 1983, Justin explains that it was quite a task … mostly because the original was so simplistic.
“The demo is just Michael and a piano, so funny enough, when we got the track to work on, when you peeled everything away, you couldn’t separate Michael’s vocals from the piano. It was all on one track. We had numerous people dig through archives and this is the only existing demo we could find … It makes you feel that early ’80s Off the Wall/Thriller right around that time when I’m sure he was recording a bunch of music.”
In addition to “Love Never Felt So Good” — which fans can download on iTunes — Justin is also still on the road for his The 20/20 Experience world tour. In fact, he has two L.A. dates coming up: August 12 at the Staples Center and then November 24 at The Forum.
And if that wasn’t enough, he will also be interviewed by Oprah Winfrey for her Master Class this Sunday, May 11, at 10/9c on OWN.
For more information and how to get tickets, head to Ticketmaster.com!