Timbaland is one of the most sought-after producers in hip-hop and R&B music today. Born Timothy Zachery Mosley, his unique production style melds hip-hop sound with R&B music using a cleaner and non-sample-based approach and blurs the line between the two genres. Over the years, He has produced hit albums for such artists as Missy Elliott, Aaliyah, Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake, Ginuwine, Jay-Z, Ludacris, Madonna, Rihanna and OneRepublic, among many, many others, as well as three of his own solo albums. He is set to release his next album, Textbook Timbo, sometime in 2016. Read on to find out more about Timbaland, and check back for part two of this list, coming soon.
Number Fifteen: Timbaland Is the Music Producer for ‘Empire’
His first foray into television production, Timbaland came on board the hit FOX show at the request of show creator Lee Daniels. Tapped as a songwriter and song producer, much of the show’s music is written and produced by his team. Furthermore, the team earned a Grammy award for the show’s soundtrack.
Number Fourteen: The First Album Released on His Record Label Debuted at Number One
In 2006, Timbaland started Mosley Music Group, an imprint originally distributed by Interscope Records and as of 2014, Epic Records. The first album released on the label was Nelly Furtado’s Loose, which reached number one on the Billboard charts and eventually became certified platinum.
Number Thirteen: He Was Once Temporarily Paralyzed
Before gaining attention in the music industry, Timbaland worked in a Red Lobster. At the age of 15, a coworker accidentally shot him under his arm, leaving the arm paralyzed for nine months, shrapnel in his armpit and ongoing health problems.
Number Twelve: He Has Worked with Some Uncharacteristic Artists
We all know the pop, hip-hop and R&B artists that Timbaland usually produces for. However, he has also produced music for a couple of other artists that you would not expect. For example, he produced three tracks on Bjork’s 2007 album, Volta. This includes the album’s first single, “Earth Intruders,” which was Bjork’s highest charting single ever. Similarly, he also produced three tracks for Duran Duran’s 2007 album, Red Carpet Massacre, at the request of their label, Sony. However, this collaboration didn’t go over as well with the band’s fans and it was not one of their highest charting albums. He has also collaborated with some uncharacteristic artists on his own albums. Shock Value features collaborations with She Wants Revenge, Elton John, Fall Out Boy and The Hives.
Number Eleven: He Was Once in a Group with Pharrell Williams
Around 1991, Timbaland was in a group of young musicians called Surrounded by Idiots. The group also featured a pre-N.E.R.D. and pre-Neptunes Pharrell Williams. In 2011, three tracks from the group’s heyday in 1991 were unearthed and released by Timbaland Productions.
Number Ten: He Received a High Honor at Trinity College
The highest honor, in fact. In 2008, he was inducted as an Honorary Patron into Trinity College Dublin’s elite Philosophical Society. Usually given to scholars and politicians, honor is only given to a few people every year.
Number Nine: He Recently Put Out Unheard Music from Aaliyah
When Timbaland released his King Stays King mixtape in December 2015, the album featured a number of collaborators, including a very unlikely one. The song “Shakin’,” is an unreleased collaboration with gone-too-young R&B superstar Aaliyah. When promoting the mixtape, Timbaland tweeted “Aaliyah..This is for you baby.” Back in 1996, he produced most of her second album, One in a Million, which included hits like “Try Again” and “Are You That Somebody.” Check back soon for part two of our list of 15 interesting facts about Timbaland.