Justin Timberlake Lands First Solo Country Hit
After years spent atop the pop charts both as a solo act and member of boyband ‘N Sync, Justin Timberlake finds himself on the country charts for the first time as a solo artist.
According to Billboard, Timberlake’s “Drink You Away” off his 2013 album The 20/20 Experience (2 of 2), made its debut at No. 60 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart. Timberlake previously performed the song with Chris Stapleton on Nov. 4 at the 2015 CMA Awards in Nashville, and the song has since been spun on country radio.
This isn’t the first time Timberlake has had a hit on both the country and pop charts, however. With ‘N Sync, Timberlake made Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart with Alabama’s remake of the group’s pop hit “God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You.”
RCA Executive VP/GM Joe Riccitelli says there is no reason for Timberlake to miss an opportunity to have a hit at country radio.
“Justin always believed in the song. He didn’t perform it on the CMAs to have a hit. He’s just been really passionate about it,” he tells Billboard.
Meanwhile, Steve Hodges — EVP of promotion/artist development for Sony Music Nashville — insists that Timberlake’s song being played on country radio is something that happened organically.
“The CMAs performance was a great moment and we followed up by delivering a clean version of the song to radio, so stations didn’t have to play the TV audio [or lengthy five-and-a-half-minute album version],” Hodges explains.
While “Drink You Away” recently made its debut on the country airplay chart, it is currently 36 on the pop radio airplay chart, begging the question if there will be the release of a Timberlake country album in the near future.
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