If you know me personally, then this letter of appreciation should come as no surprise. I was actually inspired by the numerous open letters that are submitted and published daily on The Huffington Post a while back, and I thought that this post would be fitting given the amazing week this kid has been having. So without further adieu…
It isn’t very often that I sit down and actually write a letter to an artist that has literally captivated all of my musical senses since the tender age of ten, but I feel like it’s timely (and a little bit overdue) because of the kick-ass 2013 you’ve been having. For the past thirteen years, I’ve looked on in admiration as you’ve successfully grown from a boy into a man in the music industry: showing the world that yes, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed kid from Memphis, Tennessee can have just as much soul as Al Green, with the swoon factor of Elvis Presley and the musical maturity of a young Michael Jackson. Even in your days as a member of *NSYNC, you stood out to me significantly. And not just because your curls were super cute (I’ll never forget those cornrows — you tried it) or the way you held down that melody in every song, or even your southern twang — it was your ingenuity that kept me in awe. As I got older, my likeness for you went from a school girl crush to a deep infatuation to now an earnest respect for your ability to keep your fans spellbound by your suave dance moves, southern boy charm and impeccable musicianship. Just as we all go through our own personal evolution, there are some things that remain constant — and for me, it’s been you and your music.
Now without getting all deep and sappy, I’m going to break this down and keep it real cute. You ready? Here we go…
Whenever my friends and family ask me what it is I like about you most, I always say that it’s your personality. I’m sure you get this all of the time, but your humility and sense of normality is so admirable. As one of the most famous people in the world, from what I can tell you are so personable, laid-back and cool. If the opportunity ever arose, I totally think that we could be friends. And not in a weird, creepy fanatic way — more like, you’d be one of my homeboys I’d call up to have drinks + smoke hookah with after work, or watch a football game on the weekend, or help me put together a dresser from IKEA. You’re that really cool homie that lives next door who keeps it 100 with you, but who’s also mad cute and super funny Bottom line, you can get it. All day, every day and twice on Sunday. Your “Hey Boo” factor has always been off the charts for me since day one, but I completely respect and admire that you’re happily married now so I’ll continue to be cool and bat my eyelashes from a healthy distance.
Maannnnn, listen. When I saw you for the first time in Baltimore a few weeks ago and heard you belt out those first few notes of “Holy Grail”, I almost threw my shoe at you — within good reason of course. Your voice has got such control and versatility that is simply remarkable. The beginning of “Don’t Hold the Wall” is one of my absolute favorite new tracks, but even going back to “I’ll Be Good For You” and “Nothin’ Else“ I’m still amazed because it’s you harmonizing with yourself. Granted, I know ever artist does that, but who in the hell sounds that melodic and so cool like that? And when you want “to go to church” like in “Pusher Love Girl”, your grit and those runs you tend to pull out of thin air…I just. You’ve got a depth in your voice that I really appreciate, and a sound that has always impressed me, so keep that shxt up *lol* And now that you’ve got this two songs in one thing going (that really started on FutureSex/LoveSounds, the kids just weren’t paying attention) I’m even more excited for Part 2 of 20/20 because I’m sure it’s going to take me on yet another musical journey that might land me in outerspace. Glad I finally have a coupe to get there…. 😉
From grooving dance floor, to playing them keys on that Rhodes to strumming on that guitar and singing your face at the same damn time. Whether it’s watching you live or on television in a performance, I’m enthralled by your ability to hold an audience’s gaze and command their attention. When it comes to your ability to visually tell a story with your music, you’ve definitely done a great job at that too. “My Love” is an all-time favorite, and “Mirrors” puts me right in my feelings when necessary. And I’m not sure what magical wizards you’ve got working on your marketing + PR team, but friend you’ve got all the right moves when it comes to partnerships, promotion and social media engagement. As a marketing/pr girl, these tweets, promo videos and Instagram photos have kept me hanging by a moment all summer, and I’m lovin’ it. There aren’t many artists that are using these mediums effectively to promote their brands, so I salute you for coming back into the game and blazing the trail.
So in closing, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for your artistry, charisma and genius that you have blessed the world with over the span of your 20+ year career. Thank you for the laughs you’ve shared through your jokes, the memories you’ve created for me through your unforgettable performances, and for just being so.fine. If you ever read this letter, I hope that you know you’re greatly appreciated in this industry by myself and millions around the world. Keep doing what you do, and I look forward to the best that’s yet to come.
A Tennessee Kid Forever,