Timbaland Reveals How Nearly Dying From an Overdose of Painkillers Changed His Life: 'There Was a Light'
By Zach Seemayer
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Timbaland is poised to have one of the most successful years of his already iconic career, but it turns out he came very close to dying just three years ago while in the throes of a serious pill addiction.
The 45-year-old music producer, DJ and songwriter -- whose real name is Tim Mosley -- recently opened up to Rolling Stone about his struggle with an addiction to OxyContin and how he almost died in his sleep after taking a near-lethal dose.
"All I can tell you is that there was a light," Timbaland recalled. "I woke up trying to catch my breath, like I was underwater."
According to the legendary producer, he started taking painkillers over a decade ago due to nerve issues resulting from a gunshot wound he suffered as a teenager. But soon, his addiction began to take over.
"Music is a gift and curse," he told the publication. "Once you're not popping, it plays with your mind. The pills helped block out the noise -- I'd just sleep all day. I remember Jay-Z told me one time, 'Don't do no more interviews' -- because I was saying crazy s**t."
As his addiction got worse, his musical talent suffered and his reputation as a hitmaker began to wane. Following the classic cycle of abuse and addiction, this lead to further dependence and addiction on painkillers.
However, on that night that he feels he nearly died, Timbaland said he was struck with an entire new outlook on his existence.
"Through that whole thing I saw life -- I saw where I would be if I don't change, and where I could be if I did," he shared. "I thought about Michael Jackson… I didn't want to be old and taking these pills."
The next day, Timbaland began the long and painful process of kicking his addiction. He began decreasing his dosage and usage and soon fought through a difficult period of withdrawal.
In the years since his overdose, the producer has begun to reemerge into the spotlight and has a slew of high-profile projects set to hit shelves in the coming months, and he explained how he's interested in fostering young talents and working with new artists who have a lot of potential.
"Right now, I feel like what I can do with my legacy is to give back," he said. "Which means finding the youth of today. Look at Quincy Jones – he was 50 when he did Thriller! What's my Thriller?"
Timbaland also dished on his work on Justin Timberlake's upcoming album -- which hasn’t officially been announced yet -- and boasted, "The music we just made? It's gonna put him on another plateau."
While there's no official word yet on the hotly anticipated record, Timberlake will soon been playing to one of the biggest audiences in the world when he headlines the Super Bowl LII Pepsi Halftime Show on Feb. 4 in Minneapolis. Check out the video below to see more.