As they were the aforementioned biggest band in the country, I jumped at the chance to work with them, and it was one of the most pleasurable experiences I’ve ever had in my career. All five of the guys were gracious, focused, and kind.
But one thing that was immediately obvious was the incredible talent in Justin. It was clear even then that he was going to be a megastar the likes of which we rarely see. He had a fire in his belly that would not be tamed. He was constantly working on song ideas, arrangement ideas, vocal parts. It was really inspiring to even me, who’d been in the business fifteen years at that point and worked with all levels of talented and creative people. Everyone around him knew he was something special.
Making records is a blast for me, but for some it can be tedious work. There would be chunks of time while I was recording with one of the guys in the group and the other four guys would have that time to kill. Video games were already huge, and the lounge in the studio outside the control room had been outfitted with a big-screen TV and a video game console, where the guys would play against each other during their recording breaks. Not Justin, though. Instead of playing, any time he wasn’t needed to record something, he would ask me, “How long ’til you need me again?”