Timbaland Opens Up About His Addiction Struggle In New Interview

By Bryan Le 01/08/18
The world famous producer described losing touch with his gift of music amid depression and pills.
Photo via YouTube

Timothy Zachery Mosley, better known as the hip hop producer Timbaland, recently spoke about how addiction and mental health affected his music.

In an interview for Complex’s Blueprint series, Mosley reveals that behind the scenes of his high-profile music producing career, he struggled with addiction and mental health.

Despite working with talents such as Justin Timberlake and Missy Elliott, his passion for music almost disappeared as his drug use became more prevalent during dark times. 

“My fingers didn’t feel connected to the keyboard,” he said about the addiction. “It felt off… once me and the music disconnect, oh no, oh no. God gave me the gift of music and that’s how God speaks to me through music, through sound.”

He had a spiritual revelation that led him to kick the painkiller addiction so he could feel the love of making music again.

Now, his darker days are behind him and he’s in a happier place. "Right now, I’m at a peaceful level, I’m happy with myself and changing myself every day,” he said.

With his mind back in music, he’s free to collaborate with big-name artists again, such as Justin Timberlake, with whom he created the hit “Cry Me A River.”

“I went in the booth and I knew that sound would move him in a different way,” he recounted. “I knew the chemistry that we both had… like yeah, musically, we on to something.”

Timbaland has previously opened up about kicking a painkiller addiction. He started off on the pills for nerve pain from a gunshot wound, but before long he found himself spiraling down, taking his marriage and career with him.

“Once you’re not popping, it plays with your mind. The pills helped block out the noise—I’d just sleep all day,” he said. “I remember Jay-Z told me one time, ‘Don’t do no more interviews’—because I was saying crazy shit.”

He was taking so many pills, his girlfriend Michelle got in the habit of checking if he was still breathing while he was sleeping. His turning point came after a near-fatal overdose.

“All I can tell you is that there was a light,” he said. “I woke up trying to catch my breath, like I was underwater. But 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.”

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter