All it took for The Shadowboxers to get the attention of now-mentor Justin Timberlake was to simply say something on social media— and with it came the opportunity of a lifetime.
When American pop trio Adam Hoffman, Matt Lipkins and Scott Tyler — who met during their freshman year at Emory University in 2007 — covered the iconic pop star’s hit “Pusher Love Girl” in 2013, they took a leap of faith when they Tweeted at Timberlake, 37, to check out their rendition. And what happened next was nearly a miracle.
“I tweeted at him because that’s what you do, you know — ‘Hey, J. Timberlake, we’ve covered your song … hope you dig it!’ — and for some reason he saw it. It’s still kind of inexplicable,” Hoffman told PEOPLE Now when the band stopped by the studio to discuss their upcoming projects. “Then, he tweeted that he liked the cover and reposted it. He sent us a direct message on Twitter the next morning and was like, ‘How do I get in touch with you?’”
Hoffman continued, “About a week — an agonizing week later — I got a call from a Memphis area code and we talked for 45 minutes, and a week after that he was in Atlanta on tour and he took us out to dinner.”
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“Three minutes” after the band first shook hands with Timberlake in their native Atlanta, Lipkins said, “it was like hanging out with a friend.”
“The first meeting, we bumped into him in the hotel lobby, and right as we got up to him Gnarls Barkley was walking up the stairs. So our introduction him was just the two of them rapping about a Lakers game, and we were just sorta like ‘Okay, uh…” Then he was like, ‘All right, you guys want to have a steak dinner?’” recalled Lipkins.
While the band earned the “Say Something” singer’s stamp of approval immediately upon hearing their musical abilities, he continues to be a “hands-on” mentor who’s focused on helping them succeed in the competitive industry.
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“We would literally send him demos over email, and he’d send back feedback or call us or text us and be like, ‘Try putting this slapback delay on this vocal.’ Then in the studio he’s extremely hands-on and wants to help us in every aspect of it, not just trying to open doors for us,” said Hoffman.
The Shadowboxers, whose debut album Apollo featuring their latest hit “Runaway” was released Friday, are currently touring the nation with Timberlake on his Man of the Woods Tour through June, where they work hard, but play harder.
“Our text thread with him is 90 percent absurd and 10 percent business,” joked Hoffman.