The song was released on Aug. 31, after Timbaland teased the song’s release earlier that month with a series of pics from FaceTime and a nostalgic video of him, Nelly and Justin performing. The single is the first time the friends have released music together since 2007’s hit “Give It To Me.”
“We keep going up,” Furtado tells ET about the music collaboration. When asked what drew the trio to get back together after almost 20 years, the singer references the lyrics to their single. “I’m looking for some guys that will treat me right, looking for them in the daytime with the light. Just kidding.”
More seriously, she adds: “Timberland treats me right in the studio, and JT too. They’re class acts. We have a good time together.”
“I don’t know what it was, but this song is special,” the producer said via Zoom. “I hope it stays up to everything that the people want. If people want the 2006 back, I think we did it justice.”
He added, “I think we gave it a song with meaning. Meaning, it can relate to you or your friends. ‘I keep going up, if you keep going up.’ Like no matter what you go through, Imma be here for you. You know what I’m saying? And that’s what that song is. It has all different meanings, and you still dance to it. You still jam to it. That’s why this song is one of the best of my lifetime. It feels like ‘We Are The World.’”
Timbaland is no stranger to making hits with both Justin and Nelly. In 2006, he produced their respective No. 1 albums, FutureSexLoveSounds and Loose. The super producer went on to collaborate with Justin again on his last album, Man of the Woods.
“I’m the disruption that comes in when we come together,” he says about working with the artists. “The pot gonna stir a little bit and I’m gonna know what direction to go when it comes to music. And I think this is what we have.”
And all it took was one take for Justin to get the song, because according to Timbo, they get each other.
“The synergy that we have is just like life,” he says about working with the “Sexyback” singer. “It’s like something that moves out of us that we speak the same musical language, and it’s like without talking to him, I know what type of music he’s looking for without even talking to him.”
The trio is only getting started. Timbaland reveals to ET that there is a joint album in the works.
“This [“Keep Going Up”] sets you up for everything JT and Nelly about to do,” he teases. “I went to Justin doing a rehearsal, I said, ‘A fan said we should do album.’ He’s like, ‘You know what, we should.’ And that’s in the works.”
As for the timeframe, Timbaland says it could happen “ASAP.”
“This whole song is sparking off something that I think that’s gonna be incredible,” he says.
And speaking of reunions, Furtado shared with ET that she was just as excited about the night’s *NSYNC reunion as any other fan.
Prior to their appearance, ET confirmed that the “Bye Bye Bye” singers would be making an appearance at the show.
NSYNC’s latest appearance together comes after fans have been speculating their return online. In August, ET confirmed that the group will come together for new music as part of the upcoming Trolls film.
“JC Chasez, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick are expected to have surprise roles in the third Trolls film, Trolls Band Together, with Justin Timberlake,” a source told ET.
The source added that the quintet will also reunite as NSYNC to release a new song for the movie. The song will be their first together since their last album, Celebrity, was released in 2001.
Furtado told ET that it’s the perfect time for the group to reunite. “It’s all about the fans. They’re hungry for it,” she explained. “It’s nostalgia time and they’re great, they are great. Excellence.”
The 2023 MTV Video Music Awards is airing live from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, on Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on MTV. Follow along at ETonline.com for full coverage from this year’s VMAs, including the complete list of the nominees and the night’s big winners.