Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams
Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times


Pharrell Williams
Music: South side of the 6200 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Singer | Songwriter
Born April 5, 1973 in Virginia Beach, Va.

The singer, producer and songwriter Pharrell Williams is one of pop music's most adventurous and influential modern figures, crafting a sound that's futuristic and experimental while still remaining deeply sexy and tuneful.

Williams, a native of Virginia Beach, first rose to prominence in the late '90s as one-half of the Neptunes, a production partnership with his high school friend, Chad Hugo. The duo's sound was rooted in R&B and hip-hop, but they showed a flair for minimalism and experimental sounds as heard on hits like Britney Spears' "I'm a Slave 4 U," Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl," Snoop Dogg's "Drop It like It's Hot" and Nelly's "Hot in Herre."

In 2001, Williams, Hugo and Chad Haley also founded the funk-rock band N.E.R.D (an acronym for No one Ever Really Dies), which blended their R&B influences with more live instrumentation over four albums. Williams further broadened his writing with the hit soundtrack for the 2010 film "Despicable Me" and its sequel.

In 2013, however, Williams' career as a solo artist and vocalist grew rapidly. His vocal turns on smash singles like Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" and Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" (which he also produced) renewed interest in him as a frontman, and his 2014 album "G I R L" was met with broad anticipation. Its lead single, "Happy," which first appeared on the "Despicable Me 2" soundtrack, rose to the top of U.S. pop charts while earning Williams an Oscar nomination for original song.

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Points of interest

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    2013 Best Original Song "Happy" from Despicable Me 2 Nomination

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