News of the surprise collaboration broke early this morning through an announcement on Good Morning America. Although this pairing might seem a little confusing to many country fans, it’s actually one that’s been in the works for quite awhile.
In December 2014, Timberlake praised Stapleton and predicted his imminent success through a tweet on his account.
REAL music fans already know. So, mainstream: @ChrisStapleton Remember that name… –jt
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) December 11, 2014
Back in July, we predicted that Timberlake was preparing for a move into country music. Between mentions of country influences in interviews, a surprise duet with Garth Brooks at his Nashville concert in 2014, and the purchase of a new home in Nashville, it seemed like Timberlake was getting back to his roots.
The Memphis-native has the chance to use this appearance at the CMA Awards to kickstart his country career. Although it would be a big step away from his last pop and R&B release, The 20/20 Experience, it may be one of the best career moves he’s ever made. No matter what happens, Stapleton seems excited about the opportunity to ruffle some feathers.
“Some people might want to burn me at the stake for it, or burn him at the stake for it,” Stapleton told Rolling Stone Country. “Who knows? But we’re going to have a good time.”
The 49th annual CMA Awards will be broadcast live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena November 4th at 7 p.m. CT on ABC.