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The Shadowboxers at Little Caesars, 5 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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There aren’t many patrons better to have in the pop world than Justin Timberlake.

Just ask the Shadowboxers.

The trio, which formed while attending Emory University in Atlanta and is now based in Nashville, has been together for a decade, making its own music and, for a time, backing the Indigo Girls. It came to Timberlake’s attention during late 2013, when he saw a video of the Shadowboxers covering his “Pusher Lover Girl” and tweeted about it. He subsequently got in touch and signed them to his Villa 40 label.

Since then the Shadowboxers has released a new EP, “Apollo,” and singles such as “Runaway,” “Hot Damn!” and “Time Zone.” The group is now on the road opening dates for Timberlake’s Man Of The Woods Tour...

• The group’s Adam Hoffman says that after seeing the Shadowboxers’ video, Timberlake direct-tweeted the group and asked to meet it when his 20/20 Tour rolled through Atlanta. “He took us all out to dinner and said, ‘I want to be your big brother. I want to help you in whatever way I can,’” Hoffman recalls. “It’s really surreal. that was almost three and a half years ago now and it’s no less surreal than it was the first time we met him. We’re such fans of his in everything he does. We were huge fans of his before we met him. If we could’ve picked anyone out there to be our mentor and collaborate with, it would’ve been him. The fact it happened is something we still can’t really process. But it’s cool; He’s a friend now. We can text him at any point about anything and he’s always there and always down to help us figure something out or help fix something.”

• Being on tour with Timberlake, meanwhile, “is obviously an elevator ride for us,” Hoffman says by phone. “We’ve done festivals. We’ve played clubs, done a few one-off arena things. But to be on a full arena tour and to look at each other and go, ‘Yeah, we’re comfortable here,’ it’s a really weird, sort of surreal feeling. But we also we that, in a way, we’ve put in our 10,000 hours and are ready to go to the next level.”

• Hoffman says he and his bandmates like the idea of being “a new band that has all this experience behind us. Our career has really been centered around our live show and touring and building a grass roots following. We feel ready to be thrown into any situation imaginable. We’ve played every room you can think of. In our generation there’s so many artists who start in a studio and then have to figure out how to play live, but we came at it the complete opposite way -- we played 300, 400 shows before we ever got in the studio. So we feel particularly equipped for whatever comes our way. But it’s cool to be thought of as a new band.”

• Because of that, the Shadowboxers view the “Apollo” EP “as our debut,” according to Hoffman, “even though we’ve put some other things out before it. But we haven’t released a lot of material, and we’ve evolved so much that this EP really feels like our first thesis statement. We demoed upwards of 150 songs over the past three years and over that time we really organically figured out what our sound was through that process. The whole intention behind this EP was we wouldn’t cut a single corner on any aspect of it. That’s why it took us so long.

• The Shadowboxers have plenty of other music to bring out and are looking forward to enjoying a boost in visibility from the association with Timberlake. “We’re not quite sure of the format yet, but we do know we’re going to be releasing a lot more music this year,” Hoffman, 29, says. “That’s our plan. We really spent the time figuring out what our development and our identity, and we have a lot more where that came from. We’ve been prepping for this for so long, and it’s cool that all that work is paying off.”

If You Go

• Justin Timberlake and the Shadowboxers

• 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 2.

• Little Caesars Arena, 2645 Woodward Ave., Detroit.

• Tickets are $45-$230.

• Call 313-471-7000 or visit 313Presents.com.

Web Site: www.313Presents.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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