The idea to form a group came from the oldest member Christopher Alan Kirkpatrick (now 28). His family was not surprised by his ambitions since music was a part of their history. Chris's great grandfathers both had bands and his grandfather was a country western singer. His grandmother trained in opera and his mom is an instrumentalist who also teaches voice lessons. According to his mother Chris showed his musical ability from an early age. Before he could talk she would sing him "Coventry Carol" and one day she heard him humming the tune without being able to speak a word. Chris started to take a serious interest in music when he was in high school. During this time he learned to play the keyboard, guitar, and trombone. In collage he studied music and psychology. After receiving his education Chris held various jobs including playing guitar with a friend at a few small gigs and performing with a caroling group at Christmas time. He also spent some time singing in a fifties doo-wop group in Universal Studios.
In 1995, The first person Chris called about the group was Memphis Tennessee native Justin Randall Timberlake who he knew from auditions. When asked how long he had been singing his reply was "I just popped out singin' " More realistically he was singing just as soon as he could talk. At two and a half he could pick out harmonies and sing with songs on the radio. His father was in a bluegrass band and Justin grew up listening to their harmonies. One of his biggest influences in his singing was the Church where he sang as his family members had before him. When he was eleven Justin had the opportunity to perform on Star Search in Orlando. He lost in the first round however it enabled him to get home in time to make the auditions for new members of the Mickey Mouse Club. Over thirty thousand kids auditions and 7 new cast members were added including Justin. Here he became close friends with a young man named Joshua Scott Chasez.
After receiving the call from Chris Justin immediately called JC (a.k.a. Joshua Chasez). Unlike Justin and Chris JC did not come from a family of musicians. His family realized that at twelve JC had a nearly pitch perfect soprano voice but he was too shy to perform. JC's first performance was a dance competition he entered as a dare. He won first pace and started to enter more competitions from which he continued to bring home ribbons. Then one day he signed up for vocals at one of the shows and sang for the first time in public to "Right Here Waiting For You". Soon after he got a part in the Mickey Mouse Club.
One night Chris, Justin, and JC were out at a club and they ran into a friend named Joey. This was a surprise because Joey knew Chris from Universal Studios, and he knew Justin and JC from mutual friends in the Mickey Mouse Club, but he didn't now they knew each other. They explained to Joey how they were starting a group and gained their fourth member
Joseph Anthony Fatone Jr. was born on January 28 1977 in Brooklyn, New York. His first major performances was with his cousins and brother and sister putting on shows. The first time Joey knew that performing would be in his future was in the first grade when he played a small part in a family theater production of "Pinocchio" . His family moved to Orlando when Joey was thirteen. This helped him to pursue his interests in acting, singing, and dancing. In high school he was participated in many musicals and plays. After high school Joey got a part in The Beetle Juice Graveyard Revue at Universal Studios.
The quartet practiced and could harmonize well but they knew they were missing something. None of them had a bass voice. They auditioned for a fifth member but could not find anyone. Finally Justin called a former vocal coach in Tennessee. He recommended James Lance Bass. He caught a flight to Orlando right away and according to Lance he didn't formally audition he just fit in really well with the rest of the group right away, "They just flew me down and I met them and joined that day. We sang ‘The Star-Spangled Banner' together or something like that, and that was it."
Lance was born in 1979 in Clinton Mississippi. Though his family knew Lance was talented they never pushed him towards music. He rather discovered it himself. The only performing he did was though show choirs. Lance first knew he wanted to perform was when he attended a Garth Brooks concert when he was 14, "I thought his show was incredible. I thought, ‘That's what I want to do'."
After much brainstorming Justin's mom was the one who finally named the group. She commented on how in sync their singing and dancing was and it stuck. Later she discovered that the last letter of each of their first names spells *NSYNC (JustiN, ChriS, JoeY, LanceteN, JC).
The first year was tough but the guys took their music very seriously. A typical day would consist of school and vocal rehearsals. Chris and Joey would get off their jobs at 9:00pm and they would practice singing and dancing every night until 12:00 or 1:00am. They worked very hard to create a audio/video demo tape. It was a performance at Disney World's Pleasure Island that included their own outfits, choreography, and songs except for one cover. Their effort payed off because the video caught the attention of Louis Pearlman who became their manager and got them signed to BMG records in Germany. Their first single "I Want You Back" broke records in Germany as the fastest rising single. "It's Tearin Up My Heart" came soon after and debuted in the top five. Next came a sold out tour which brought them all over the world except for the U.S.
However *NSYNC did get to return home in 1998. They enjoyed some peace and quiet for awhile because here they were completely unknown. "We were terrified to release the album back in the U.S.", said Lance "but we found the courage. It could go two ways: either the public would love us or not. God they did! We didn't have any secret. We were just ourselves." Being themselves worked because"*NSYNC" went platinum four months after it's release that April. The group made many television appearances and were featured in many magazines. The peace and quiet did not last long. *NSYNC opened for Janet Jackson's "Velvet Rope" tour that October. This was followed by their own tour which was the third most selling concert of 1999 behind the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen. Also"*NSYNC" went diamond at the end of 1999.
Despite their world wide success, millions of record sales, and sold out concerts by the end of 1998 each member of *NSYNC received only $25,000 and they received a small weekly salary during the 1999 tour. This was because their manager took fifty percent of all recording royalties, one-hundred percent of all advances, thirty percent of all merchandise sales, and twenty-five percent of recoding income as management commission. On top of that instead of dividing the remaining money among the five guys he counted himself as a member and split it in six. This was one of the main reasons for their decision to leave BMG and move to Jive records. However when they attempted this last November they were hit with a $150million lawsuit by their former manager Louis Pearlman. It accused *NSYNC of many legal wrongdoings including breach of contract. *NSYNC struck back with lawsuit against Pearlman seeking at least $25 million in damages. They cited fraud, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty. As part of a statement issued by the group JC describes Pearlman as "unscrupulous greedy" businessman who "while hugging us and calling us family was picking our pockets, robbing us of our future, and even endangering our health. The last issue refers to Lance who's medical condition was complicated by exhaustion because of Pearlman's demanding schedule. While on tour he collapsed backstage and needed to be hospitalized. While in the hospital he suffered a mild seizure. According to his wishes not to disappoint the fans the rest of the group continued with their tour dates. At these concerts Chris and Justin were seen crying on stage (Justin had to leave in one instance because he started weeping uncontrollably) and falling during dance moves. Pearlman then began to look for a replacement for Lance but luckily he recovered. The lawsuit was settled however the exact terms have not been disclosed. Chris said this in response to the lawsuit,"I know the five of us will stick together, because we have the bond of love and music. If we're old farts sitting in the bathroom still singing our a capella together we're going to be as happy as the day we walked on stage at the Silverdome."
Their new Album "No Strings Attached" was meant to be released before Christmas time but was delayed because of the legal matters. Members Justin and JC have written songs for the album. It has shattered the records by selling 2.4 million copies on the first day. The first single of the album has already broken records as the most added track to radio stations at two-hundred breaking the previous record of 145 set by the Back Street Boys. Their No Stings Attached Tour sold out in many arenas and stadiums in less than ten minutes
Meanwhile the group members have also become involved in a few outside projects. Chris is the head of his own fashion line called fumanskeeto set to hit the stores this spring. Lance took on acting by appearing on the WB's "7th Heaven". He has also started his own management company called Freelance Productions and is in the process of starting a record label. Justin has started his own Charity, The Justin Timberlake Foundation to help provide funding for the arts in schools. He recently met with the president to discuss it. JC has taken to writing and producing songs for Wild Orchid and Boyz N Girls United.