The addition of Rhea, introduced to the band by a mutual friend, has the producer promising some lofty things for the foursome's next project.
"Musically, we're just somewhere else [with her]," Pharrell told MTV News. "The music is now very 3-D. It's something you have to hear. But you'll see. We're definitely somewhere else. I want to leave that impact moment for when you purchase your download and you purchase your CD. The music is very three-dimensional. We're just really excited. We feel like N.E.R.D. has always been the punks of hip-hop and the outcasts of alternative music — just a little different. But this time, we're taking no prisoners."
The Neptunes artist explained Rhea might be petite, at just 5-foot-4, but her booming voice and her classical background blend in with the genre-bending trio of N.E.R.D., also including Chad Williams and Shae.
"Now you have this little Tinkerbell that's just stepped in and has been amazing," he said. "It's made it a fun process. We can go in so many more directions, because we have the vocal support."
Rhea, a Toronto native of Guyanese descent, met the fellas only once in person before she auditioned for them via Skype. She sang "His Eye Is on the Sparrow." Her rendition impressed the guys, and she soon found herself signing on.
"It was just a really good time," she said of meeting the collective. "When I came in there and I met them and they heard me sing, I think they decided it was the right fit."
"Don't be bashful," Pharrell chimed in. "We lost our minds. We thought she was great."
N.E.R.D. are set to hit the road next week with Jay-Z on his Blueprint 3 tour.