Pharrell Talks Feel-Good Music, Fashion, & ‘The Voice’ in Wall Street Journal
In September, “Man of the Year” Pharrell Williams was profiled in The Wall Street Journal, which he also covered.
Inside, he spoke about his career, the far-reaching effects of “Happy,” his new job as a coach on NBC’s The Voice and more.
Lensed in a sleek black-and-white editorial by fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh, the music maestro wears dapper selections from Comme des Garçons, Dior Homme and Prada chosen by stylist Clare Richardson.
Check out photos and snippets of his interview with Robert Haskill below, and read the full feature at online.wsj.com.
On the failure of his first solo album:
“I think when I put out my first solo album, the music was just eclipsed by all the braggadocio. That was me feeling like I had to be like Jay or Puff. I didn’t realize that that was their story—the story of the struggle to will your way out of where you’re from, to cash in on that, first for yourself, then for other people. But I didn’t see that. All I saw was the planes, the cars, the girls—the ornaments but not the tree they were hanging on. I was making music with and for Jay-Z and Puff, but I was a weirdo in that world. We had A Tribe Called Quest, we had the Fugees, but it seemed like those other guys were running things.”
On reacting to fan-made “Happy” tribute videos in an interview with Oprah:
“I think I was just feeling really humbled. People hoisted my music to a place it had never been before. It’s like, life is a mosaic, and my song is one little piece. All those other pieces are all those people’s reactions to it.”
On making feel-good music:
“It took me a minute to find my purpose. I knew something was missing, and then I realized, OK, you’re able to make music; now you have to inject purpose. I want to make music with something extra to it—a holistic property. I want to make it feel good. I’m not the only one doing this. Kendrick Lamar’s music feels amazing. Adele’s music feels amazing. Alicia [Keys]’s new album feels amazing. The distinction between sounding amazing and feeling amazing—that’s the thing. People, I think, are looking for a feeling.”
On why he’s on The Voice:
“You want to know why I’m doing this. Producing is what I do every day, talking to people about what they want in their track, giving them advice about what sounds good juxtaposed with their voice and their style. That’s what I’ll be doing on the show, but it’s a huge platform, and it’s about paying it forward. The universe has been good to me, so it’s like, ‘What can I share with you guys?’ I’m hoping that some person in Iowa can take some of my advice, internalize it and go and be bigger than all of us put together.”