We can’t wait until Pharrell Williams releases a second single from his upcoming G I R L album, because, frankly, we’re a bit tired of the “Happy” puns. But you know what? Skateboard P is not sick of smiling, because after scoring the biggest year of an already hit-heavy career in 2013, he’s looking at another smash with his star-studded second solo release.
In a new interview with GQ, the 40-year old singer/producer/hook heavyweight proved he has every reason to be content at this very moment in time.
He Writes Songs On His Phone
Acclaimed film scoremeister Hans Zimmer tells the magazine that when he was working on the soundtrack to “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ with Williams and former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr he learned just how talented Pharrell is. While Zimmer and Marr were arguing over chord changes, “by the time we’re finished, he’s [Pharrell] written a fully formed song [on his phone].”
He Realized That His First Album Was All Ego, No Purpose
Reflecting on the failure of his first solo record, 2006′s In My Mind, Pharrell said he realized it failed to launch because he wrote those songs, “out of ego … Talking about the money I was making and the by-products of living that lifestyle. What was good about that? What’d you get out of it? There was no purpose. I was so under the wrong impression at that time.”
Everything was too crazy then — the girls, the jewelry, the cars, the houses, the diamond-studded Rubik’s Cube — and he realized the solo path was not for him. And, yes, at the time he was unhappy.
He Could Leave His Son The Cube, But He’d Rather Impart Knowledge
Asked if he is going to leave the “ridiculous” bling Cube to his 5-year-old son, Rocket, as an inheritance, Pharrell said probably not. “No, hopefully his inheritance is a great education and a positive outlook on life,” Williams said, before strolling off to get a cupcake.
He Got To Make The Album He Wanted To Because Of Daft Punk
After scoring smashes with Robin Thicke (“Blurred Lines” was written in a half-hour) and the Robots (“Get Lucky”), Daft Punk’s label told him to get busy. “We know that you’re not interested in doing another solo album. But we know that you’re going to change your mind. Even if you’re not ready now, we know you’re going to change your mind,” he said Columbia Records told him. “And since we know that, we’d like to get ahead of it and change your mind and tell you, ‘Look, here’s a deal. Go make whatever album you want to make.’”
He was eventually convinced and by the time he hit the studio he knew exactly what kind of album he’d make. “I instantly knew that the name of the album was called G I R L, and the reason why is because women and girls, for the most part, have just been so loyal to me and supported me.”
He Gets It Now
After talking about how women have the power to end the universe right now if they wanted to, Pharrell said he realized the old him was trying too hard to be Jay Z or Diddy. “Those are their paths. I got my own path,” he said. “But I didn’t know what my path was. I knew that I was meant to do something different. I knew that I needed to inject purpose in my music. And I thought that was my path. I didn’t realize that like, from ’08 up until now was like, training. Like, keep putting purpose in everything you do. Don’t worry about it; just put purpose in there.”
And, after singing a line for the writer from Jay’s “So Ambitious” (“The motivation for me, is them telling me what I could not be”), Williams has a light bulb moment. “You know what I’m saying? Inject purpose. Inject purpose. Inject purpose.”
He Can’t Stop The Hits
After the interview dropped, news came that “Happy” rose to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, pushing Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” out of the top spot after four weeks. It’s his fourth #1, but very first as a lead artist. “Happy” now?