Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Pharrell Williams: I was camouflage

Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams always felt he was "the guy next to the guy".

The singer is having a serious moment since his hit single Happy reached number one all over the world and was even nominated for an Oscar. He also lent his voice to 2013's huge hits Blurred Lines and Get Lucky and really feels that he really came into his own last year.

“By 2013, I had accepted my role as the… camouflage,” he admitted to W Magazine. “I was the guy next to the guy, rather than the guy himself. All my formative years, I spent standing next to Jay [Z] or Justin [Timberlake] or all those kings. I’ve always learned from the masters, whether it’s in music or art or fashion. But in 2013, it was different: suddenly, it was not about being the camo anymore.”

It may seem that Happy, which appeared on animated movie Despicable Me 2, became an instant hit. However, it was the tenth song Pharrell presented to the film's producer Chris Meledandri.

“I was at zero,” he revealed. “After nine different songs, recorded fully, they were like, ‘No, no, no, no.’ So I went back and wrote Happy. I didn’t have the melody, just the chorus. For 20 minutes after I finished, I was jumping around the room. I told Chris to listen to the song in his car, that if he didn’t like Happy, I didn’t know what to give him.”

He might be enjoying success now, but it has come at a price. The singer and Robin Thicke were criticised by many for their joint hit Blurred lines, due to its provocative lyrics and video, which featured scantily clad women.

But Pharrell, 41, is adamant he knows the "power" of ladies and that he respects them fully. Blurred Lines was actually a track designed to help girls enjoy a night out dancing.

“I realised that a lot of women didn’t know how to fit in to the rhythm of rap songs - they needed music to bend and curve a little bit. I was producing Robin Thicke, and he is a soulful white boy and I thought we could take some chances. That song was what happened," he explained.

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