GRAMMY-winning producer Pharrell Williams recently visited Red Bull Studio in Los Angeles for a live album listening party and interview co-hosted by The Recording Academy. Before an intimate audience, Williams provided behind-the-scenes details about each track on his new album, Girl, and discussed how women inspired the album and the message he hopes to convey, among other topics.
"I knew I wanted to make it about the folks who just have been so gracious to me for over 22 years, and that was the women," said Williams about Girl. "Obviously I have male fans, and this album is for everyone, but women were my muse … [Girl] is a full spectrum of my affinity for women."
A Virginia Beach, Va., native, Williams emerged in the '90s as one-half of the GRAMMY-winning producing duo the Neptunes. As the Neptunes, Williams and partner Chad Hugo produced hits for artists such as GRAMMY winners Babyface, Jay Z, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Usher, among others. In 2003 the Neptunes earned Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical honors at the 46th GRAMMY Awards. That same year Williams picked up a GRAMMY for Best Pop Vocal Album as a producer on Timberlake's debut solo album Justified. In 2001 Williams formed the alternative rock collective N.E.R.D. with Hugo and Shay Haley, releasing hit albums such 2004's Fly Or Die (No. 6) and 2008's Seeing Sounds (No. 7). Williams' debut solo album, 2006's In My Mind, peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200.
Williams won four of the seven GRAMMYs he was nominated for at the 56th GRAMMY Awards on Jan. 26, picking up both Record Of The Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," which also featured Nile Rodgers. Williams also won for Album Of The Year for Daft Punk's No. 1 album Random Access Memories and Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical.
Released on March 3, Williams' sophomore solo album Girl peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 on the strength of the lead single "Happy," which is also featured on the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack and earned Williams his first No. 1 single as a solo artist, as well as an Oscar nomination for music (Original Song) at the 86th Academy Awards. Girl features 10 tracks, including collaborations with GRAMMY winners Daft Punk, Alicia Keys and Timberlake.
Williams will kick off a North American tour with GRAMMY winner Bruno Mars on May 31 in Hollywood, Calif., with dates scheduled through July. This fall Williams will participate as a coach on season seven of "The Voice."