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Justin Timberlake releases new album, announces follow-up

U.S. singer Justin Timberlake arrives for the BRIT Awards, celebrating British pop music, at the O2 Arena in London February 20, 2013. REUTE
U.S. singer Justin Timberlake arrives for the BRIT Awards, celebrating British pop music, at the O2 Arena in London February 20, 2013. REUTE

By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Justin Timberlake celebrated the release of his first album since 2006 with a lively show in Los Angeles, whetting fans' appetites by confirming media reports that he would release more new music soon.

At an intimate album release party for "The 20/20 Experience" on Monday, Timberlake took the opportunity to clear up media reports that he would be releasing a second volume of music later this year.

"I've got to clear up the rumors. This whole thing about this only being the first part ... is true. There is another half. I'm not giving you a release date," the singer said.

Earlier in the day, media outlets reported that Roots drummer Questlove said in an interview that Timberlake would release a second volume of music in November this year.

"The 20/20 Experience" marks the singer's return to the musical spotlight after taking time out to focus on his acting career, starring in films such as "The Social Network" and "Friends with Benefits."

Timberlake, 32, sang a few of his latest hits and earlier songs for the audience, and answered questions from fans about his new record, including why it took him six years to release a new album after his hugely successful 2006 "FutureSexLoveSounds," which featured the hit single "Sexyback."

"I definitely enjoy all the entertaining but music is definitely the most special thing to me, and that's probably why I wait so long in between records, because for me, no pun intended, it's an experience," the singer said in an interview with Ryan Seacrest between songs.

Timberlake has successfully transitioned from child star and member of boyband N'Sync to bona fide actor and solo singer.

The album marks a new chapter in the singer's life, following his marriage to actress Jessica Biel in October 2012.

Timberlake sang three songs from the new album - romantic ballad "Mirrors," smooth R&B track "Suit & Tie" and the Latin-infused "Let the Groove Get In" - showcasing the range of influences he explored on "The 20/20 Experience."

But it was the album's closing track, "Blue Ocean Floor," that Timberlake called the most "unique" on the album and inspired by British rock band Radiohead.

"I'm a huge Thom Yorke (Radiohead frontman) fan, and I was listening to some 'OK Computer' and 'Kid A' and this song just happened. This is probably the most unique so far and probably took me out of my comfort zone," the singer said.

Timberlake also played some of his most popular hits, including a medley of "Like I Love You," "My Love" and his breakup song "Cry Me A River."

The new album has been at the top of the iTunes album charts since it became available to stream and pre-order last week and is set to debut at the top of the Billboard 200 album chart next week.

Audience members on Monday took note of the singer's penchant for formal wear, turning up in suits and dresses for the speakeasy-themed album release party at the historic El Rey Theater in Los Angeles.

Fan Amanda Wall, 18, and her mother Camille won tickets to the intimate gig on Seacrest's radio show and traveled from Atlanta to attend the singer's album launch.

"I've been a big Justin Timberlake fan, he's been my crush since I was 7, so this is huge," Amanda Wall told Reuters.

The singer will embark on a "Legends of the Summer" North American tour with rapper Jay-Z, kicking off in July.

(Reporting By Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Elaine Lies and Eric Walsh)

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