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The Story Behind How NSYNC Got Their Name


Every successful band has a story behind its name, often reflecting something significant about the group’s identity, vision, or journey. For NSYNC, the name carries a unique origin story that ties into their formation and aspirations in the competitive world of pop music.

Formation and Early Days of NSYNC

NSYNC, the iconic boy band of the late 1990s and early 2000s, was formed in Orlando, Florida, in 1995. The group’s line-up initially consisted of Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone, and later Lance Bass. Each member brought unique talents and personalities to the group, but their journey to stardom began with a name that would eventually become synonymous with pop music excellence.

The Search For Identity

In the early stages of their career, NSYNC faced the challenge of finding a name that captured their collective identity and resonated with their audience. Like many aspiring bands, they went through a brainstorming process to find a name that felt right and conveyed their musical ambitions.

Image Courtesy: Vulture

The Origin of ‘NSYNC’

The band owes its famous name to Timberlake’s mother, Janet. In the early ’90s, the group gradually came together, starting with Kirkpatrick, who invited his friend Timberlake to join. Timberlake then brought in Chasez, a fellow cast member from The Mickey Mouse Club, forming a trio. Chasez recruited his longtime friend Fatone, whom he had met upon moving to Orlando, Florida, for The Mickey Mouse Club. Initially, Jason Galasso was the bass singer but left after a few weeks of rehearsals. It was then that Timberlake’s vocal coach suggested Bass, completing the formation of *NSYNC.

“My mother came up with the name,” Timberlake said in a 2001 interview with CNN. “The first time we sang together, she goes, ‘Man, you guys sound really in sync.’ And we were like ding, ding, ding.”

The name ‘NSYNC’ emerged from a combination of ideas and influences. It is widely believed to be derived from the last letter of each member’s first name: JustiN, ChriS, JoeY, LanstoN, and J.C. This clever play on initials not only personalized the group but also created a memorable and distinctive name that stood out in the competitive landscape of pop music.

Another key aspect of the band’s name is the asterisk at the beginning. While the name is technically written as NSYNC, it is often stylized as *NSYNC. This seemingly minor but significant detail was inspired by Israeli-British illusionist Uri Geller. Before achieving fame, *NSYNC attended one of Geller’s performances at Covent Garden in London, where he shared a prophecy with them.

“He goes, ‘I see something. It has to do with suns or stars or something with astronomy in your career,’” Fatone recited in a 2015 interview with Huffington Post. “And it’s funny, a year later when we did the first album, for America, they had a star in it.”

The Rise to Fame

*NSYNC’s self-titled debut album was initially released in Germany. Following the chart success of the singles ‘I Want You Back’ and ‘Tearin’ Up My Heart,’ the album was released in the U.S. in 1998, with a star placed in front of the band’s name.

“We sat down and I wrote, on a napkin, NSYNC, and I drew a star [in Covent Garden] and I told them, if they place that star on their first CD, they’re going to shoot up to No. 1,” Geller recalled of the cosmic moment.  

Over their more than half a decade together, *NSYNC released four studio albums. Their self-titled debut and their 2000 album ‘No Strings Attached’ were both certified diamond, each selling over 10 million copies. 

Image Courtesy: E! News

Although *NSYNC disbanded in 2002, they briefly reunited for a performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2018.

Symbolism and Meaning

Beyond its literal interpretation, the name ‘NSYNC’ also symbolizes the group’s cohesion and unity. It reflects their commitment to working together as a team and staying in sync both musically and personally. This cohesion was crucial to their success as they navigated the challenges of fame, rigorous schedules, and the pressures of being in the spotlight.

Legacy and Continued Influence of NSYNC

While NSYNC officially went on hiatus in 2002, their legacy continues to resonate with fans worldwide. Their name has become synonymous with the nostalgia of the late 90s and early 2000s pop culture, and their music remains a staple at parties, on playlists, and in the hearts of devoted fans.

The story behind how NSYNC got their name is more than just a tale of clever wordplay; it encapsulates the spirit of a band that captured the hearts of millions with their music and charisma. From their humble beginnings in Orlando to their meteoric rise to fame, NSYNC’s name reflects their journey as a cohesive unit and their enduring impact on pop music history. As fans continue to cherish their music and memories, the name ‘NSYNC’ stands as a testament to the power of teamwork, talent, and the pursuit of musical excellence.

Also Read: ‘Turn Back Time’ by Aqua: A Nostalgic Dive Into the Late 90s


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