When Justin Timberlake recently announced plans to release his first solo album in nearly seven years, fans of the "SexyBack" singer weren't the only ones who were surprised. The singer-turned-actor's former 'N Sync bandmate, Lance Bass, says the group was unaware Timberlake was once again making music.
"He's been so busy and even hid from us that he did an album, so I was as surprised as everyone else that he released this new music," Bass, 33, told Us Weekly at EMA's Green Works event at Sur in L.A. Jan. 23. "He's been busy with that, so we haven't really been able to catch up."
Even so, Bass admitted he's a big fan of "Suit & Tie (feat. Jay-Z)," Timberlake's first single from his upcoming third album, The 20/20 Experience. "I love it!" Bass raved of the mid-tempo R&B track. "I think it's something that no one expected him to do. I think everyone was expecting him to do a crazy [dance track], but he went back to his roots and I like it. It's very nice!"
Like Timberlake, Bass is working on his own solo album, his first ever. "I've waited 10 years to be able to do it, and now I finally found the time this year," said Bass, who had competed on Dancing With the Stars in 2008. "I just needed a break from music. When you do something as big as 'N Sync, you don't get so burnt out of it, but you need a different direction and my mind needed to go somewhere else."
Bass' album will be inspired by his Southern roots. "It won't be a crazy, full country album," the Mississippi native told Us. "I'd love to come out with some pop record that has that essence of rock 'n' roll and country."
Though '90s boy bands New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees and Boys II Men are joining forces for a summer tour, Bass doesn't see 'N Sync reuniting on the road. "We're all just very content with what's happening in our lives right now and we don't want to get burnt out again," said Bass, who's been dating actor Michael Turchin since 2011. "Hopefully in the next few years we can do something, but I think right now isn't the time for us."
It doesn't seem Timberlake is too eager to hang out with the band, however. When he wed actress Jessica Biel in Italy on Oct. 19, 2012, he didn't invite his former bandmates Bass, J.C. Chasez, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick. "From what I know, it's because he didn't want all of us there making it about a reunion rather than a wedding," Kirkpatrick said in a previous radio interview. "It was [Jessica's] day. She's amazing, so we wanted to make sure it was about her."
Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!