He’s been a rosy-cheeked Mouseketeer, a boy band heartthrob, a string of Hollywood characters, the guy who facilitated Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction,” and even a dancing bottle of beer on Saturday Night Live.
But when he touches down in Vancouver on his globetrotting 20/20 Experience World Tour, the ever-evolving Justin Timberlake will be the sleek, suit-and-tied pop star who last year alone released his first album in seven years, played the White House, appeared in the latest Coen Brothers flick and toured with hip-hop titan Jay Z.
“I’ve been doing this professionally since I was 10,” Mr. Timberlake told GQ, which named him one of its Men of the Year for 2013. “If entertainment years were dog years, man, I’d be like Gandhi. I’d be like 250 years old.”
But no matter which incarnation of Justin Timberlake his adoring fans love most, they’ll likely get a taste of it at the blockbuster Rogers Arena show. On the tour, the 32-year-old megastar – whose album 20/20 Experience was 2013’s biggest seller in the United States – has been performing his own hits, from 2002’s propulsive SexyBack to the understated Suit & Tie, as well as covers from Michael Jackson’s Human Nature to Elvis’ Heartbreak Hotel to the pre-‘N Sync hit Poison by Bell Biv DeVoe.
And, of course, there’s the dancing. With a troupe of professional backup dancers, the seasoned performer has been showing off his well-honed moves for legions of fans, many of whom are arriving dressed to the nines.
But while Mr. Timberlake has become a funny, slick neo-soul star who channels a blend of vintage R&B and modern pop, he says he is anything but cool – and that others should aim for the same.
“Being cool is about keeping your blood pressure steady. So no. Don’t be cool. Be passionate. Be dedicated. Be tenacious. Be uncompromising. Be [angry]. Be happy. Be sad,” he told GQ. “I’ve made a career out of doing things that I should not be doing. I wasn’t cool about it. Because being cool would have meant I passed up on those opportunities. If you do that, it’s because you’re afraid. And what are you afraid of?”