As one of the top creative minds in popular culture today, Pharrell Williams always seems to be at the forefront of all things cool.
And in his new interview for the WSJ Magazine Fall Fashion edition, the “Happy” hitmaker explains that it took him a little while to find his own flavor.
Williams shares, “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.”
Instead, Pharrell now sees things differently. “It took me a minute to find my purpose; I knew something was missing. Now I want to make music with something extra to it. I want to make it feel good.”
As for his status as a fashion icon, Williams notes, “It embarrasses me a bit to be a figure in fashion. I think everyone is interested in what they put on, even if you dress conservatively. Whatever you’re trying to mask, the mask itself says something about your personality.”
Rather than keep all the glory for himself, Pharrell credits a certain designer for helping him make a splash with his iconic mountain hat- “Give Vivienne Westwood the accolade. I bought it in London years ago. I just liked it. I’m as surprised as anybody else that it became a thing.”
Meanwhile, fellow “The Voice” coach Gwen Stefani seems to be fond of her longtime collaborator-turned-colleague. “He does something so rare, which is hip-hop with an injection of rock. But it’s not aggressive. It all seems driven from this positive place. He just doesn’t go negative. We have a sort of unspoken connection in that we both love Japan and Japanese style and culture and fashion. And I think we also have this nerd connection.”