Take a look at some of the biggest songs of the 21st century so far, and Pharrell Williams will almost definitely have something to do with it.
Behind the Scenes Brilliance
Pharrell’s first success came in the shape of The Neptunes. Like a lot of the big stars we feature on Artists in Focus, careers start EARLY (Adele, we’re looking at you!), and Pharrell is no exception to that rule. Before he had even graduated from school, Pharrell and his friends were making a name for themselves. It was at a school talent show that Williams and his friends Shay Haley and Mike Etheridge performed together and were noticed by producer Teddy Riley whose studio was next door! Convenient, hey? He signed them as soon as they graduated.
It’s truly incredible how much work Pharrell Williams and The Neptunes have done behind the scenes. They have worked on some of the biggest songs of the noughties, including Nelly’s “Hot In Herre”, Justin Timberlake’s “Rock Your Body” and Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot”! Pharrell has also collaborated with Jay-Z, Gwen Stefani and none other than Britney Spears – his collaboration list is every producer’s dream, there’s no doubt about that.
Alongside his work with The Neptunes, Pharrell also had his fingers in other pies. His hip-hop/rock band N.E.R.D. have released 5 albums from 2001 to 2017, and his solo career was taking off too. In 2010, Williams began working on the Despicable Me film score with Hans Zimmer and Heitor Pereira. Talk about a lot on your plate!
A Cocktail of Greatness!
What do you get when you mix French electronic duo Daft Punk, funk king Nile Rodgers and our man in the spotlight Williams? You get quite literally some of the biggest hits ever. From their album Random Access Memories, Pharrell collaborated on songs “Lose Yourself To Dance” and “Get Lucky”, the last of which we probably all had on repeat at some point that year. “Get Lucky” sold over 9.3 million copies worldwide, making its way on to the list of best-selling songs of all time. It also swiped the Grammy for Record of The Year and one for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. To top it all off, Stevie Wonder joined them for a live performance of the song. Name a more iconic collaboration… we’ll wait.
And on the subject of big hits, we simply have to mention the one featured in our RSL Keys Grade 2 syllabus, and this one will come as no surprise. Think tiny yellow people with goggles and blue overalls and you might be some way to guessing that “Happy” is our chosen Williams track. As the single for the Despicable Me 2 film in 2013, this up-tempo soul tune was THE best-selling song worldwide in 2014. Its exceptionally groovy, euphoric feel translates directly into the keys part, with interesting harmonies and rhythms to keep your skills in check, whilst inevitably dancing in your seat. There’s a reason that this song is the 8th best-selling of all time in the UK, right?!
This year could definitely do with a little more “Happy”, so let us know how much you enjoy playing this one over on our socials (@RSLAwards)!