Pharrell Says He Wrote Ten Versions Of "Happy"
"I got to point zero, and I just said to myself, 'How do you make a song about a guy who is so happy and relentless in doing so?'" Pharrell said.
Appearing as a guest on Good Morning America earlier today (April 7), Pharrell explained writing nine versions of his recent song “Happy” before arriving at a final version with the tenth. During the show the producer/singer also performed the hit for an audience in Times Square.
“It was actually nine versions before I got to the tenth,” he said. “That’s when I had to ask myself, one more time, for the last time, I got to point zero, and I just said to myself, ‘How do you make a song about a guy who is so happy and relentless in doing so?’ That’s when I realized that the answer had been sleeping in the question all along.”
Describing the writing process within the context of its placement on the animated film Despicable Me 2, Pharrell outlined being nervous about delivering the track for the sequel.
“Chris Meledandri and Illumination is a fine animation house and they gave me the opportunity in the first movie to do the score with Heitor Pereira,” he said. “Then the second time they let me do like the original song score. I just got to that point in the second film and was like, ‘Man this is a pivotal moment in the film. What am I going to do? Am I gonna mess this up? Are they gonna have me back on the third?’ You get to that place where you’ve run out of ideas, that’s what we call nothingness or nirvana. When you’re at zero, it’s not up, down, left, or right or diagonal. It’s like when you don’t know anything, and you ask yourself a question and you listen, you open yourself up. The master, God, the Universe, it speaks to you.”
Speaking again about dedicating his latest release to women, Pharrell broke down transitioning from music about himself to writing about others.
“The first album was a bit about me, me, me, and this other guy me,” he said. “This album is not about me, this album is devoted to such an incredible demographic that’s been taking care of me for over twenty years and that’s the women, so I called it G I R L...In addition to that, just really honestly wanting to give back to women. Women deserve so much better and so much more. You guys don’t get paid as much as men do, that needs to change. We’re a species that has a rover on the surface of Mars but yet and still we’re also the same species that tries to tell women what they can and can’t do with their bodies, those are the things that need to change.”
Shortly before performing on the show, Pharrell offered a short description of his involvement in in an environmentally-minded business called Bionic Yarn. “Long-story short: instead of making new polyester for clothing—like if your shirt says 50% cotton 50% polyester—we have a sustainable business that takes plastic from the ocean and spins new yarn,” he said. “So instead of it being polyester it’s just yarn spun from plastic bottles.”