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Chris Stapleton and Justin Timberlake make an unlikely pair. Who would have thought that a collaboration between a virtually unknown bluegrass artist from Kentucky and the lead singer for one of the most popular boy bands of all time would have resulted in one of the most dynamic CMA Awards performances ever? The musical chemistry of Stapleton and Timberlake is a rare find among artists of the same genre, let alone between two guys from opposite ends of the musical spectrum.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the new CMA Male Vocalist of the Year gave some insight into his friendship with the former NSYNC lead singer and shared just exactly how this amazing collaboration came to be.
“I was less than nervous, I was excited,” Chris Stapleton says of sharing the stage with Justin Timberlake Wednesday night at the 49th annual CMA Awards in Nashville. “Having Justin in the room elevates everybody — not just everybody on the stage, but everybody in the room. He’s that guy, he has that kind of talent.”
The CMA collaboration was a surprise to everyone but Timberlake and Stapleton. The two met a few years ago and had been looking for a reason to perform together. The men kept in touch while waiting for that opportunity to come along. What did they talk about? “Dad-stuff,” says Stapleton. “We tell a lot of kid stories. He’s a new dad and I’ve got little kids.” He goes on to say that his relationship with Timberlake is “a good thing.”
Timberlake obviously agrees! He took to Instagram to praise his pal after their jaw-dropping performance Wednesday night.
“About last night…I’ve been friends with @castapleton and his lovely wife Morgane for a couple of years now, but sometimes you meet people and feel like you’ve known them your whole life. He is one of THE MOST gifted musicians, songwriters, and vocalists I’ve ever met. So stoked to share this moment with him and watch him put the WHOLE WORLD on notice. So happy for you brother. Chalk one up for the good guys. “
Now the big question is…Will Justin Timberlake go country? If so, will Stapleton join him on a new album? We’re hoping for “yes” on both counts.