Pharrell Williams was born and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia. At band camp in the seventh grade, he made friends with Chad Hugo; more on him in a moment. In high school, Williams played in the school band and was a self-admitted nerd (he remains a huge fan of “Star Trek”). It was in high school that he earned the nickname “Skateboard,” for his preferred form of recreation, then and now.
It was also in high school that Williams and Hugo joined forces with their friends Shay Haley and Mike Ethridge to form the rhythm-and-blues style group The Neptunes. They were discovered at a talent show by record producer Teddy Riley whose studio happened to be near the school. Williams has continued his work with The Neptunes while also founding the rock-funk-hip-hop group N*E*R*D and making some solo albums of his own. He has numerous awards to his name, including an impressive ten Grammys.
Released at the end of 2013, Pharrell William’s song “Happy” was a huge success, the best-selling song of 2014 and winner of two Grammys. It’s a soul and neo-soul piece in which Williams sings in a falsetto that’s been compared to Curtis Mayfield. One critic called the song “unbelievably catchy” and “the kind of song that makes you want to dance and sing along.” That’s exactly what happened at a concert in Leeds, England. Williams invited kids from the audience to join him on-stage for some dancing. One of them, a seven year-old named Dylan, told a local newspaper, “I was a little bit excited and I thought it was really good for my first gig. I just made it up as I went along, and Pharrell gave me a high-five at the end.” Dylan’s dad caught it all on video and you’ll find it posted below.
How did you like the way Pharrell Williams gave some of his younger fans a chance to shine? Let’s hear from you in the comments at Facebook and be sure to like and share!