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Pharrell Wiliams Biography

Pharrell Wiliams Biography

Pharrell was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia to Carolyn and Pharoah Williams II. He has four brothers, Pharoah Williams III, David Williams, Cato Williams, a professional skateboarder, and Psolomon Williams, who is currently still in high school living in Virginia. Pharrell has also stated on MTV and in The Guardian paper that he is in fact a Christian: Williams define his own religious beliefs? "I'm Christian." Does he go to church? "I ain't been in so long man. But God knows my heart. I have conversations with God a few times every day."

Pharrell met Chad Hugo in a seventh grade summer band camp where Williams was a drummer and Hugo played tenor saxophone. They were also both members of a marching band, where Pharrell played the snare drum, and with Chad as a student conductor. In the 1990s, Hugo and Pharrell formed a 4-piece "R&B type" group along with friends Shay and Mike Etheridge, which they named The Neptunes. They later entered a high school talent show where they were discovered by Teddy Riley, whose studio was close to Pharrell's school Princess Anne High School. After graduating from high school, they signed with Riley as a group.

Pharrell Williams explained to Cosmopolitan Magazine "When I was younger, I was fired from McDonald's because I was lazy. Basically, I was getting in the way. After that, I worked at two other McDonald's, and they both fired me for the same thing."

Through working with Emanuel "E.BABY" Holmes (Tarpon Springs Fl.), Pharrell went on to write Holmes verse for Wreckx-N-Effect's 1992 hit "Rump Shaker" (#2 Billboard Hot 100, 2x Platinum). That same year, he also performed a small rap solo on SWV's second hit, 'Right Here". In 1994, Hugo and Williams had established themselves formally as a production duo under the previously used name "The Neptunes", and produced "Tonight's The Night" from BLACKstreet's self-titled debut (Holmes being a member of BLACKstreet). Over the next three years they continued to produce occasionally. Some of the production had little resemblance to the trademark Neptunes sound present today, including some of the productions for SWV (1996). However, some like Mase's 1998 No.8 (Billboard Hot 100) hit "Lookin' At Me" (from the Harlem World album, and the most definite beginning of the distinctive 'Neptunes Sound', came with N.O.R.E.'s "Superthug" in 1998, reaching #36 on the Billboard Hot 100, and gaining them widespread attention for the first time. The duo then went on to work heavily with Kelis (producing her first album Kaleidoscope in its entirety) and Ol' Dirty Bastard (Nigga Please), followed by Mystikal's hit single, "Shake Ya Ass".

In 2001, The Neptunes produced Britney Spears' single, "I'm a Slave 4 U" gaining their first world-wide #1. The same year,Pharrell, Hugo and Holmes released their first album as N*E*R*D In Search Of...) in Europe, where the first Kelis album was better received. The album sounded very much like their previous production work; the group decided that they should make their work as N*E*R*D sound different, and re-recorded the album, with the funk-rock band Spymob. The Neptunes also signed The Clipse, a rap duo from Virginia Beach that Pharrell had met back in 1993, to Arista Records through his recently[when? — see talk page] established Star Trak Entertainment imprint.

In 2002 their re-produced album was released worldwide, and The Neptunes reached #1 in the U.S. with Nelly’s single, "Hot in Herre". In August of the same year, The Neptunes were named "Producers of the Year" at both The Source Awards and the Billboard Music Awards. Clipse released their commercial debut album, Lord Willin' on August 20, 2002. The album opened at #1 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-hop Album chart and #4 on the Billboard Hot 200, fueled by the strength of its first two singles, "Grindin'" and "When the Last Time," which peaked at #34 and #19 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100.

2003 saw The Neptunes release a self-credited album called The Neptunes Present... Clones, featuring songs and remixes from various artists. This album topped the US Billboard 200 Albums Chart. The Neptunes and Pharrell specifically were also kept in public eye largely due to ties with Jay-Z, producing several hit singles for him and landing two tracks on his album The Black Album. "Frontin'" was a big summer hit (the 34th biggest single of 2003 according to Billboard Magazine). A survey in August 2003 found the Neptunes produced almost 20% of songs played on British radio at the time, a survey in the US had them at 43%.

N*E*R*D's second funk/rock-oriented album, Fly or Die, released in March 2004. Williams' rock credentials were further bolstered by his appearance at the 2004 Grammy Awards, performing The Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There" on drums along with Sting, Dave Matthews, and Vince Gill. Pharrell went home with two Grammy Awards that night, one for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, and another for Best Pop Vocal Album for his work on Justin Timberlake's No.2 Billboard hit Justified. They also gained their first UK #1, again with Nelly, and Flap Your Wings.

On September 9 2005, Pharrell performed the opening single from his debut solo album "In My Mind", "Can I Have It Like That", featuring Gwen Stefani. The single did poorly in the US, reaching only #48. However, it fared better in the UK, reaching #3. Between then and the release of "In My Mind" (on July 25, 2006), he released "Angel" (Europe only), and later Number 1 with fellow producer/rapper Kanye West. Several songs leaked to the internet before the album's released, most notably "Mamacita" featuring Daddy Yankee, which was subsequently cut from the final version. "That Girl" featuring Snoop Dogg was the final single. which was entirely about his first highschool sweetheart, Tamara Fernandez whom he adored.

On May 16, 2007, for seven days only, the first of two expected collaborations with Madonna, entitled "Hey You," was made available for free download from MSN.com. MSN, in conjunction with Madonna, donated 25 cents for each of the first 1 million downloads to the Alliance for Climate Protection, in support of Live Earth.  His other collaborations with Madonna are expected to be included on her next studio album, released in early 2008, including "The Beat Goes On" & "Candy Shop". Pharrell also performed two songs at the Concert for Diana on July 1, 2007. On July 7, 2007 he performed at the Brazilian leg of Live Earth at Rio de Janeiro. A second album, entitled "Out of My Mind," was recorded with his newly formed band "The Yessirs" featuring ?uestlove of The Roots. However, Pharrell's record label did not think that a companion album to the first would sell well. He also produced Beyonce's rendition of "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend."

He drives an Enzo Ferrari and a Mercedes SLR McLaren, often wears a trucker hat, was voted the "Best Dressed Man in the World" in 2005 by Esquire. He is a fan of the science fiction series Star Trek,  as indicated by his consistent use of the Vulcan salute and choice of label name. He also enjoys the works of the late astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan, whom he calls "a genius". Williams has a half-pipe inside his home.

He most recently wrote and produced "Why Should I Be Sad" on Britney Spears' latest album Blackout. He also produced two songs from The Hives new album, The Black and White Album , titled "Well All Right!" and "T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S.".


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