The last time Justin Timberlake was in town, the young singer was just beginning to show signs of megastardom. But with today’s Timberlake, there are no longer any doubts that he’s reached that status.
On a cool December night in 2007, Abu Dhabi hosted the musician at a concert for more than 10,000 fans. He belted out tunes from his second solo album FutureSex/LoveSounds and gave audiences a glimpse of his many talents on stage. As he prepares to mark his return to the capital this weekend to showcase the best selling The 20/20 Experience, it’s easy to understand why so many people are eager to witness his impressive progression once again.
For years now, Timberlake has been regarded as a sort of Golden Child of music thanks to his undeniable raw talent and vocal flair. But it has been his ever-growing roster of skills beyond music that’s helped his fanbase grow.
This triple concoction of entertainment is not new to the business. Step back in time to the “golden age” of Hollywood from the 40s and 50s, where making it big meant bringing multifaceted talent to the stage and screen: singing, dancing and acting. Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Sammy Davis Jr., Audrey Hepburn, - even Clark Gable - all would sing, dance and act for their roles.
If you couldn’t dance you were taught or had to be a knock-out in one department - think Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra or Rosemary Clooney, whose voices and acting skills brought them to stardom. But even they tapped their toes when the script called for it.
From his boy band days until now, Timberlake has been famed for both his singing talent and dancing style, both of which smoothly transitioned into a solo career known for its fantastic performances. But the true surprise came with his acting talent.
Though he began acting in films from 2006, Timberlake struck big with his role as Napster creator, Sean Parker, in 2009’s The Social Network. Truly embodying the snarky, Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Timberlake shocked audiences with his role.
The 33-year-old has also shown off comedic chops as well throughout his acting with his role alongside Cameron Diaz in Bad Teacher in 2011. Proving his comedic chops, Timberlake marked his fifth hosting of famed sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live in March 2013, joining the ranks of Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Candice Bergen, Alex Baldwin and Tom Hanks; all of whom appeared in a skit with Timberlake for the show.
Timberlake also has drawn a following for his sketch comedy and improv performances with sketch trio, The Lonely Island, and his multiple appearances on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
As he stepped back into the music spotlight, Timberlake released a video for his 2013 single Suit & Tie, featuring hip-hop mogul Jay Z. Almost an acknowledgement of his modern-day showmanship, the video for Suit & Tie is a Rat-Pack styled, black and white affair directed by David Fincher.
With no sign of stopping, Timberlake’s modern day show man seems to have embodied and reinvented itself with its outreach on music, film and even social media channels. With the announcement that he will star in a biopic of Neil Bogart, the disco-era mogul behind Casablanca Records, Timberlake may have his evolved “triple threat” on display with singing, dancing, acting and, now, producing.
When Timberlake takes to the stage this weekend in Abu Dhabi, it will be a different performer than the one seen seven years ago. For anyone keen on witnessing his evolution, it’s one show not to be missed.
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