Childhood & Early Life
Timothy Mosley was born on March 10, 1972 in Norfolk, Virginia, to Latrice and Garland Mosley. His father worked with Amtrak while his mother ran a homeless shelter. He has a younger brother, Sebastian, and a sister, Courtney Rashon, who later became a makeup artist and author. He attended Salem High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
In 1986, when Mosley was 14, he worked at a local restaurant called Red Lobster. There he was accidentally shot by a co-worker, which partially paralyzed him for nine months. During that time, he began to learn how to work as a DJ using his left hand. He was then called DJ Tim or DJ Timmy Tim.
Around that time, he collaborated with his high school friend and rapper Melvin (Magoo) Barcliff. He also joined a production company called Surrounded by Idiots. Singer and rapper Missy Elliott also started working with him.
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Mosley and Magoo were introduced by Missy Elliott to record producer DeVante Swing, who named Mosley as Timbaland. He and Magoo became associated with DeVante’s Swing Mob record label.
At Swing Mob, Timbaland worked for artists like R&B singer Ginuwine, vocal groups like Playa, and girl groups like Sugah.
Timbaland worked with DeVante on a number of projects like the 1995 Jodeci’s album ‘The Show, the After Party, the Hotel’, and Sista’s debut album ‘4 All the Sistas Around da World’. He also produced remixes of Missy Elliott songs.
In 1996, he produced Ginuwine’s album ‘Ginuwine...the Bachelor’. The sound he introduced in one of the songs of the album, ‘Pony’, became a popular pop music style of the 1990s. The song became a huge hit. In the same year, he produced Aaliyah’s album ‘One in a Million’, which sold over 15 million copies worldwide.
He and Magoo released their debut album ‘Welcome to Our World’ on November 11, 1997 with 18 tracks. The album was a hit. In 1998, he released his first solo studio album, ‘Tim's Bio: Life from da Bassment’.
In 1999, he produced a major hit single ‘Big Pimpin’ for rapper Jay-Z’s album ‘Vol. 3... Life and Times of S. Carter’. In the same year, he also produced Missy Elliott’s second album ‘Da Real World’, which was another hit, debuting at number 10 on the Billboard 200.
In 2000, he produced several hit songs like Ludacris' ‘Rollout (My Business)’. He also produced three singles—‘We Need a Resolution’, ‘More than a Woman’ and ‘I Care 4 U’—for Aaliyah's third album.
In 2001, he and Magoo released their second album ‘Indecent Proposal.’ Their third album ‘Under Construction, Part II’ was released in 2003. Both the albums did not make much impact.
In 2006, he founded his own label, Mosely Music Group (MMG), and debuted with Nelly Furtado’s album ‘Loose’. In the same year, he produced Justin Timberlake’s smashing hit album ‘FutureSex/LoveSounds’. He released his second solo studio album ‘Shock Value’ in 2007, which was a big hit.
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After his success with the album ‘FutureSex/LoveSounds’, singer Madonna was keen to collaborate with Timbaland. He produced her 12th studio album, ‘Hard Candy’, released in 2008. It debuted at number 1 in 37 countries and was the 11th bestselling album worldwide in 2008.
In the same period, he produced many other hit albums—Ashlee Simpson's ‘Bittersweet World’, Keri Hilson's ‘In A Perfect World’, Flo Rida's ‘Mail On Sunday’, and Missy Elliott's ‘Block Party’, among others.
His third solo album ‘Shock Value II’ was released in December 2009 in the UK and the USA. In 2010, he produced Chris Brown's album, ‘F.A.M.E.’, which had the songs ‘Paper, Scissors, Rock’, and ‘Talk Ya Ear Off’. The album debuted at number 1 on the US Billboard 200 and sold 270,000 copies in the first week.
In 2015, he ventured into TV production as the executive music producer of the soap opera ‘Empire’. The show was a major hit.
The album ‘Welcome to Our World’ sold over 1 million copies and was certified platinum by the RIAA. It featured a number of guest appearances from singers like Missy Elliott, Aaliyah, and Ginuwine.
His solo album ‘Shock Value’ debuted at number 5 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and was certified platinum in several countries like Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, the UK, and the US.
In 2008, Timbaland married Monique Idlett and they have a daughter. While Idlett filed for divorce in 2013, they reconciled eventually.
He built a 5,000 square foot studio in Virginia Beach, where he does his production work. He is very serious about his bodybuilding regime and follows a strict diet and training program.
In 2007, he teamed up with Rockstar Games to work on their Beaterator, a music mixing game.
He organized a fund-raising event in Miami for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2007. He openly supported her throughout the campaign.
In January 2007, it was reported in the media that he had plagiarized several elements in the song ‘Do It’ on the album ‘Loose’ by Nelly Furtado. He was once again in a legal battle over the copyright issues of the song ‘Throw It on Me’ from his album ‘Shock Value’. In January 2014, he was involved in another plagiarism case concerning the track ‘Versus’ by Jay-Z, which was produced by him.