Pharrell Williams

  • Singer, rapper, musician, producer and songwriter born in 1973 from Virginia Beach Virginia.
  • In high school, Williams formed a hip hop group called Surrounded By Idiots, with close friend Chad Hugo and two other friends – Williams and Hugo met in band camp with they were in seventh grade. The group split up without recording anything. Williams and Hugo then formed an R&B group called The Neptunes in 1990. They entered a talent contest while in high school, and a record producer who had his studio next to the school discovered them. The Neptunes signed with the producer after graduating from high school.
  • The Neptunes soon had success, but not as a musical act. Rather, they began to produce music for other artists. In 1992, Williams co-wrote Rump Shaker for hip-hop artist Wreckx-N-Effect. By the late 90s, The Neptunes were producing hits for many artists, and in the 00s, they were the most successful record producers of the decade. Williams and Hugo wrote and produced ten songs that topped Billboard’s Hot 100 or Hot R&B Songs charts, for artists including Nelly, Jay-Z, LL Cool J, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris and Gwen Stefani. They won four Grammy Awards – Producer of the Year in 2004, Best Pop Vocal Album for Justin Timberlake’s Justified album in 2004, Best Contemporary R&B Album for Mariah Carey’s The Emancipation of MiMi album in 2006, and Best Rap song for Ludacris and Williams’ Money Maker in 2007.
  • In addition to their production credits, Williams began a solo career. In 2000, other artists began to include Williams as a featured artist on releases. During the 00s, he was a featured artist on seven top 10 hits, including #1 hits Excuse Me Miss by Jay-Z, Drop It Like It’s Hot by Snoop Dogg, and Money Maker by Ludacris.
  • In 2001, Williams, Hugo and Shay Haley started another project, named N.E.R.D. (No-one Ever Really Dies). The band was a hip-hop/rock/funk band. They released their first album, In Search Of… in 2001, and four more albums were released from 2004 to 2017. The albums were modestly successful, and one single, Lemon (featuring Rihanna), reached #16 on the R&B chart and #36 on the Hot 100 in 2017.
  • In 2003, Williams released his first single as lead artist, Frontin’, featuring Jay-Z on vocals, produced by The Neptunes. It was included on a compilation album released by The Neptunes titled The Neptunes Present….Clones. The single reached #5 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. In 2006, Williams released his debut solo album, In My Mind, his first album that did not include Hugo with the production. The songs largely were written by Williams himself. It debuted at #3 on the album chart. Singles from the album included Can I Have It Like That (featuring Gwen Stefani) and Number One (featuring Kanye West) – both charted in the U.S., but were bigger hits in the UK and in other international markets.
  • Already a major force in the music industry, Williams had his biggest success in the 10s. In 2013, he collaborated with Robin Thicke to release Blurred Lines. Williams produced and co-wrote the song, in addition to providing vocals and instrumentation. The song topped charts in over 20 countries, including the U.S., and it was the #14 song for the entire decade as ranked by Billboard. That same year, he was featured on Daft Punk’s summer hit Get Lucky – the disco/techno single peaked at #2 on the Hot 100, #1 in over 30 other countries, and won two Grammy awards, including Record of the Year.
  • He continued his incredible success in 2013 with a song that would outperform both Blurred Lines and Get Lucky. This time as lead artist, he contributed the song Happy to the film Despicable Me 2. Happy topped the charts in over 20 countries, including the U.S., and it was the #1 song for the year 2014. Ultimately, it was the #21 song of the decade. The song was included in Williams’ second studio album, Girl, released in 2014. The album won a Grammy award for Best Urban Contemporary Album, and Happy won two Grammy awards, for Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Music Video.
  • Williams continued to win awards during the 00s for his production work. Kendrick Lamar’s Alright won a Grammy award in 2016 – Williams was co-writer and co-producer of the song. In 2019, Ariana Grande’s album Sweetener won the award for Best Pop Vocal Album – Williams was a co-producer of the album. Also in 2019, he won his third Producer of the Year Grammy award – this put him behind only Babyface for number of wins – Babyface won the award four times.
  • Williams also has business ventures in fashion, sunglasses, shoes, art, social media and film production. He was a coach on four seasons of the singing competition The Voice. When you hear the song Happy, it really does make you happy! Here’s the Grammy winning video. I dare you not to tap your feet to this great song!

1 thought on “Pharrell Williams”

  1. Love this. When I hear this song, I just start dancing or running if I’m on my treadmill. ❤️

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