Singer Justin Timberlake has revealed the main reason sang, “It’s gonna be may.”
Decades after *NSYNC’s 2000 single “It’s Gonna Be Me” first premiered, the pop song—and more specifically, the way singer Justin Timberlake sang its closing line—took on a life of its own, becoming a meme that resurfaces each year to mark the month of May.
However, according to the singer Justin Timberlake, he was not the mastermind who thought up its unique delivery. When recently asked if it was “fact or fiction” that one of the song’s producers had advised him to add emphasis on the word to sound “meaner,” Justin confirmed that it ain’t no lie.
“I don’t remember the specifics,” he told host Sean Evans during *NSYNC’s appearance on Hot Ones‘ Sept. 21 episode, “but I sang, ‘It’s gonna be me,’ and he was like, ‘No, no, no, no, no.'”
The 42-year-old explained that the producer wanted him to say “may” instead, with bandmate JC Chasez noting how all of the track’s songwriters had Swedish accents.
“What’s funny specifically to Max Martin,” Justin said of the hitmaker, who co-wrote the song with his fellow Swedes Andreas Carlsson and Rami, “the parts of their English that was broken actually made them catchier songwriters.”
He continued, “Because they would put words away that almost didn’t make sense but when you sang them, they were more memorable.”
Indeed, “It’s Gonna Be Me” has since become a part of pop culture lexicon. In fact, Justin even poked fun at his unconventional pronunciation on the song in a Sept. 17 TikTok video.
“What’s a word you pronounced incorrectly one time and it still haunts you to this day,” a TikToker asked, to which the boybander replied in his own stitch, “Um, me.”