The 1990’s brought teen heartthrob pop sensation, Justin Timberlake, into the collective consciousness of girls worldwide. It seems as if this cycle has repeated itself again with Justin Bieber in the past few years. Both singers have started as talented and popular singers, but Timberlake was able to outgrow his teen idol status and craft a very successful, widely-varied career over the past decade. Can Bieber do the same?
Let’s look first at the elder Justin
- Timberlake was 12-years-old when he was cast on the Mickey Mouse Club on Nickelodeon where he acted, danced, and sang along with future stars like Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears.
- When he was 15, he joined a boy band called NSync. It took a few years of grinding it out on tour in North America and Europe before the band became a worldwide sensation. For the next three years, Timberlake served as front man for the most popular group in the world, and used that platform to begin writing his own songs.
- He eventually left NSync in 2002 to start what became a very successful solo career. Two solo albums have been released, for which he has won six Grammy Awards.
- Timberlake has branched out into the business world, starting a successful clothing line along with his best friend. He also annually hosts a Pro-Am charity golf event, the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals For Children Open in Memphis.
- Probably currently best known for his acting career, he has built up an impressive resume of television and film work. Besides hosting a variety of music and film award shows, he has appeared as host/guest on Saturday Night Live, getting rave reviews for his comedic talents. He’s also voiced the character Artie Pendragon in the third and fourth Shrek movies.
- Timberlake is continuing to get bigger and better film roles, with recent turns in The Social Network, Bad Teacher, and the soon-to-be-released romantic comedy, Friends With Benefits.
Now for the younger Justin
- Started his career by having his mother post videos of his performances of covers and original music on YouTube
- Became a worldwide internet sensation among young fans before two music superstars battled to sign him to their respective labels: Usher and Justin Timberlake. He was 13-years-old when he eventually signed with Usher.
- His first album was a two-parter, called My World and My World 2.0, and generated massive sales worldwide. He wrote or co-wrote many of the songs on the album.
- His work is also critically acclaimed. He was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 2011.
- Guest-starred on an episode of CSI in 2010, and again in 2011.
- Starred in his first movie, a biopic/concert film entitled “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never.” This was also very successful, becoming the highest-grossing music concert movie since 1984.
- At the age of 17, already has a wax statue replica of himself at Madame Tussauds Wax Museums around the world
Justin Bieber is still only 17-years-old, and has had a great deal of success for someone so young. In comparison, Timberlake was only beginning to reach teen idol status at that same age, and definitely struggled through years of relative obscurity unlike Bieber.
As Bieber continues to grow into adulthood, he could take a few lessons from Timberlake and look to craft a career that branches outside of music, if he chooses. There’s no doubt that Bieber’s enormous legion of female fans would follow him in whatever he does. However, he would be wise to continue building on his musical career, and continue to write the kind of music that his fans will continue to love as they also get older, and that critics can continue to appreciate. The future will then take care of itself.