Justin Thorne is only 24 years old but he has been a professional entertainer for half of his life. With a family in film, he grew up on movie sets and in his early teens began an acting career of his own with small roles in Will & Grace, That’s So Raven and Dr. Doolittle 3. Soon, though, Justin caught the attention of major label and management executives who introduced him to three other young boys who together would become known as NLT.
During his time in NLT Justin temporarily put acting aside and spent time in the studio learning production and songwriting from some of the biggest and best names in the industry, including Grammy-Award winners Ryan Tedder and The Underdogs. “I’ve always wanted to be more than a performer,” Justin says. “I wanted to know how the music was created, from the bottom up.”
NLT had instant success with their first single “That Girl” in 2007 and immediately found themselves sharing an arena stage with international super-group The Pussycat Dolls. At the age of 18 Justin went into the studio with mega-producer Timbaland and his NLT band-mates Kevin McHale (Glee), Travis Garland and V Sevani, to record their hit single, “She Said I Said”, which Justin co-wrote.
“She Said, I Said (Time We Let Go)”
“I realize I’ve been very lucky”, says Justin. “Not a lot of young artists, particularly in boybands, have their music recognized by labels. My first experience with that was co-writing NLT’s single that was produced by Timbaland, and then writing and producing ‘Blacklight’ for One Call, even when we had submissions from a lot of the guys I’ve always looked up to as writers and producers.”
The video for “Blacklight” got a lot of early buzz. Several of Justin’s friends who had gone on to be in TV showed up at the shoot and made cameos, including former- NLT member Kevin McHale, Kendall Jenner (Keeping Up With The Kardashians) and Ashley Benson (Pretty Little Liars). E! News debuted the video and things looked promising for the new group, until unfortunately in 2011, before ever officially launching their project, the group decided to disband for personal reasons.