There are periods in popular music where it seems one producer has his hands in every pot and each of those turns to gold. In this current era, that man is Timbaland. His current album is showing no signs of slowing and the hits keep popping on the dance floor.
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Now the spotlight is shining on Timbaland himself. It seems anyone he has helped in the past is showing up on “Shock Value.” The collaborator that raises eyebrows is a piano man who Timbaland has previously never had the pleasure of working with: Elton John. The British legend couldn’t be further from the Jay-Zs of the world, yet the song cracks with the same intensity. With a heavy emphasis on the piano for “2 Man Show,” the producer immediately thought of John solely for his work on the black and whites.
“(It’s) just the soulful playing that he does,” Timbaland said. “The song that I presented him with was him playing the piano, which is what he is great at. I said to him, ‘let me get at you doing something unexpected — but not really unexpected — and something that you like to do which is play the piano.’ That’s what I did. I got him playing the piano.”
He clearly is proud of everyone who aided this personal project.
“Part of the satisfaction for me is us getting in the studio and whatever we come up with is a bonus,” Timbaland said. ”
Listening to Elliott’s early songs, she occasionally raps about “me and Timothy”; that’s Timbaland. With “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” Timbaland’s skills exploded. Elliott’s hit found him turning music on its ears and their “Get Ur Freak On” and “Work It” further pushed the envelope. He first joined Timberlake for “Cry Me a River” and the rest was history. He has been on the road with his good friend appearing throughout Timberlake’s current tour and manning the turntables during intermission.
For fans that think they have a clue from where his name derives, if the guess is the wilderness footwear, simply, that is it. And, mirroring those shoes, you can forgive the man for being a work horse. He keenly understands that life is short. In Virginia Beach, while working as a DJ in the city’s clubs, he was shot and lived to tell. After surviving a car crash that killed a friend, he rebounded to produce the late Aaliyah, and their collaboration sold millions. With that first project he became the definition of originality, in his opinion, a concept completely vacant from music’s current landscape.
“I think music is going on a down slope. As far as some of it being too gimmicky, I’m tired of gimmicks in the music industry. That’s the problem,” Timbaland said. Working with a plethora of varied artists on “Shock Value” further added to his musical mission ten years in the making. For Timbaland, the collaboration is the muse. “Getting into and just working together in the studio is the greatest satisfaction.”
Timbaland articles on SheKnows:
Ashlee Simpson’s SheKnows interview: talking about working with Timbaland
Missy Elliot returns to work with Timbaland and produces sonic succulence
One Republic and Timbaland scores Ear Candy with “Apologize”
Madonna, Justin Timberlake and Timbaland score a hit with “4 Minutes”