Artist of the Month: Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams is March's Artist Of The Month

Pharrell Williams (born April 5, 1973), also known as Pharrell, is an American singer-songwriter, rapper,record producer,drummer and fashion designer. Williams and Chad Hugo make up the record production duo The Neptunes, producing soul, hip hop and R&B music. He is also the lead vocalist and drummer of rock, funk, and hip hop band N.E.R.D, which he formed with Hugo and childhood friend Shay Haley. He released his first single "Frontin'" in 2003 and followed up with his debut solo album In My Mind in 2006. He will release his second album G I R L in 2014. As part of The Neptunes, Williams has produced numerous hit singles for various musicians. Williams has earned seven Grammy Awards including two with The Neptunes. He currently owns a media venture that encompasses entertainment, music, fashion, and art called i am OTHER. He is also the co-founder of the clothing brands Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream. He’s the oldest of three sons of Carolyn, a teacher, and Pharaoh Williams, a handyman. He met Chad Hugo in a seventh-grade summer band camp where Williams played the keyboards and drums and Hugo played tenor saxophone. They were also both members of a marching band; Williams played the snare drum while Hugo was student conductor. Williams attended Princess Anne High School where he played in the school band; there he got the name Skateboard P. Hugo attended Kempsville High School.

Williams has stated that he does not have any direct influences, but has expressed his admiration for several musicians, including Michael Jackson, J Dilla,Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye, Rakim and Q-Tip. Williams explained that A Tribe Called Quest's 1990 album, People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, caused a "turning point" in his life, which "made me see that music was art".

Williams married his long-time girlfriend, model/designer Helen Lasichanh, on October 12, 2013. They have a son, Rocket Man Williams, born in November 2008. The Despicable Me song "Rocket's Theme" was written in honour of his son. In 2005, Williams was voted "Best Dressed Man in the World" by Esquire. He is a fan of the science fiction series Star Trek. Williams is a skateboarder and has a half-pipe inside his home. Williams is building a $35 million afterschool center in his hometown Virginia Beach. His charity From One Hand To Another is a foundation developed for youth between the ages of 7 and 20 in at risk communities throughout the country. In an interview for the magazine GQ Style (Autumn/Winter 2013), Pharrell described his religious views: "On paper I'm a Christian, but really I'm a Universalist."