*NSYNC Discuss the Pronunciation of "It's Gonna Be May," Blame It on Swedish Accents
"The parts of their English that were broken actually made them catchier songwriters," said Justin Timberlake
Published Sep 25, 2023Every year on April 30, *NSYNC's "It's Gonna Be Me" spikes in popularity because of the way Justin Timberlake sings the title phrase as "it's gonna be May." The reunited boy band have now reminisced about that peculiar phonetic choice, explaining that it was a result of songwriter Max Martin's Swedish accent.
The track from 2000's No Strings Attached was written by a trio of Swedish pop artists: Max Martin, Andreas Carlsson and Rami, with Rami also reserving as producer.
Appearing on Hot Ones (where they also discussed beatboxing and their vocal shortcomings), Timberlake recalled that he initially sang "me" with a more traditional pronunciation, but that he was specifically instructed to sing it as "may." JC Chasez explained, "You also [have to] remember their Swedish accents. They had done a demo of it, and they were like, 'Its like this!'"
Timberlake went on to explain that Martin's Swedish accent is a big part of what makes him such a good pop songwriter, since he uses words and pronunciation in unique ways that result in more memorable songs. Timberlake said, "You know what's funny, specifically to Max Martin, the parts of their English that were broken actually made them catchier songwriters, because they would put words the way they almost didn't make sense, but when you sang them, they were more memorable."
He continued, "And yes, it was a specific note that I got [to pronounce "me" as "may"], and I was just like, 'This guy's crazy.' I knew one day, they were going to invent this thing called memes! But yes, it was a specific note, and I did it the way that he requested, and that's what made the record."
Revisit "It's Gonna Be Me" below, and be sure to fire it up late next April.