There’s no question Prince’s music had a profound effect on Justin Timberlake’s, and there’s no doubt Prince’s death this week will have a profound effect on him going forward.
“It was Raspberry Beret. I was 4 years old. Yes, 4. I remember that I instantly loved it. ‘Mommy, who is that singing?’ Seems weird but it’s true,” Timberlake recalls in an Instagram post shared alongside an silhouetted image of the icon. “More than a ‘once in a lifetime’ artist… Just a ONCE IN FOREVER ARTIST. I’m still in shock as I write this and I feel this overwhelming grief. But, we should all turn away from that and HONOR this musician that changed all of our lives, our perspectives, our feeling, our whole being. From another planet? Probably. Royalty, for sure. Us worthy..? Laughable.”
Timberlake continued, recalling his interactions the star.
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“They say don’t meet your idols… That they let you down. But, some of my greatest, funniest (yes, he was hilarious), and most prolific encounters and conversations about music came from the moments that I spent with him,” he said. “I am sad, but I will smile when I think of every second that I had the fortune of being in his company.”
“It would be silly to say that he has inspired our music… It’s beyond that. He’s somewhere within every song I’ve ever written,” Timberlake mused further. “We have lost our greatest living musician. But his music will never die. Prince, NOTHING COMPARES… #RIPPrince.”
Timberlake’s fandom was especially apparent during a 2014 tour stop in Prince’s homestate of Minnesota, where he declared Prince “the greatest musician alive” before doing a brief, but solid impression.
In 2010, Timberlake told EW he’d been jamming to Prince on his iPod recently and added, “If there is a God, Prince has him on speed dial.”