There are many lessons that come from age and experience, and when one discovers such a thing, one is compelled to broadcast it to the world. This is that. Sometimes those declarations sound like the cantankerous frustrations of cranky old men. But while this piece of writing you find in your hands does indeed center on one very important lesson, it will come with none of that “Back in my day!” nostalgia to scare you away. Because this is a story about right here and right now. Yes, there are hints of the future and just a bit of the past, but it’s certainly about today. Which is to say: it’s about NOTHING.NOTHING is the title of the 4th studio album from Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo and Shae Haley – collectively, the three musicians-slash-producers-slash-singers-slash-songwriters known as N*E*R*D. (No-one Ever Really Dies).
Formed as a concept band in their hometown of Virginia Beach, in 2000, N*E*R*D stands – defiantly – ten years later as a group of musicians who have worked tirelessly to carve out and conquer a new space in an otherwise nebulous musical world. Amazingly, this was not the album you were intended to hear. Early in 2010, Pharrell, Chad and Shae sat in their Miami recording studio listening to roughly 20 songs, recorded over the previous year, that they believed would form their newest album. Previous LPs, like their critically-acclaimed, highly-influential IN SEARCH OF, and its follow-ups, FLY OR DIE and SEEING SOUNDS, had explored the diasporas of the rock ‘n roll sound. They tenaciously, passionately created a musical space that subscribed to no boundaries or set of rules; and in that, created a loyal and dedicated following of fans that came from a myriad of backgrounds.
N*E*R*D – Nothing (2010)
Producers & Guests: Mansions On The Moon, Yelawolf, Kenna, Nelly Furtado, Christian Rich, Swizz Beatz…
- Hot-N-Fun feat. Nelly Furtado (Single)
- Party People (Single)
- Help Me
- Make You Feel Good
- Victory feat. Christian Rich
- You’re So Perfect
- I Seen The Light
- You’re The One
- For Sure
- The Man
- God Bless Our Soul
- Perfect Defect
- Nothin’ On You
- The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
“Pharrell Williams helps YouTube star Alyssa Bernal make her mark.”
When multiplatinum artist and producer Pharrell Williams is so anxious to get in touch with someone that he contacts her high school to try and track her down, you know that there is something special happening. When that happened to singer-songwriter and YouTube sensation Alyssa Bernal, the teenager was shocked. “They didn’t know who Pharrell was! They just thought it was some shady guy trying to get a hold of me,” said Alyssa.
Her mother finally spotted his MySpace message and 24 hours later, she and Alyssa were on a plane from their home in San Antonio, TX to meet Pharrell and Interscope Records Chairman Jimmy Iovine in Los Angeles. “Finding a new talent like Alyssa is so exciting to me,” Pharrell said. “There are a lot of young singers out there who can carry a tune, but Alyssa is the real deal. She is a true musician with an incredible voice.” Once signed to Star Trak, Alyssa met with her dream producer, Martin Terefe (Jason Mraz, Train).
Terefe’s schedule was fully booked for the next few months, but after an hour-long meeting with the young singer, he agreed to work with her – starting immediately.Alyssa and her mother moved to London for seven weeks to record her debut album, “In Love Again For The First Time.” Terefe helped develop Alyssa’s naturally sunny sound, enlivening her pop sensibility with notes of funk and soul. First single “Cali Cali Cali” is available on iTunes now, and is the perfect example of Alyssa’s sunny yet substantive style. Visit AlyssaBernal.com to watch her DIY video of the track and stay tuned to the site for updates on her debut.
Alyssa Bernal – In Love Again For The First Time (2010)
Producers & Guests: Martin Terefe
- Hey Love
- Never Woulda
- Cali, Cali, Cali (Single)
- Just In Time
- I Found You
- All I Need
- Here You Are
According to 88 Keys’ Twitter, he’s doing some beats for Pusha T. probably for his Studio Album, so it does look like Pusha T. is with G.O.O.D. Music at all, we’ll see, thanks to roflcopter. “Working on some beats for this guy @PUSHA_T right this second”
On ‘RapFix Live,’ Swizz recounted the epic meeting of the super-producer minds. It was a picture worth a thousand tweets: multi-platinum producers Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and Swizz Beatz all working together in one studio. The image was snapped by Clinton Sparks and posted on his Twitter earlier this month. During MTV News‘ “RapFix Live” on Thursday (August 26), Swizz explained that the trio were booked in the same studio — Swizz to work with N*E*R*D and Kanye to work on Swizzy‘s forthcoming solo effort. By the end of the night, though, they all converged and had a “real down-to-earth conversation; I think hip-hop needs more of that,” Swizz recalled. “It’s really confidential, I’m not even gonna front,”
Swizz said about what went down that night. “I don’t want to be the person to let all the news out. I got to save some stories in case ‘Ye or P wanna elaborate on that. But just know that it was epic, and it was amazing to see such forces in the room, humbled but honest at the same time, comparing notes, comparing music.” The Ruff Ryders alum said the three producers are very “serious” when they discuss and critique each other’s work. But the respect level is so high that no one takes the suggestions personally, Swizz said. And he hopes that the “positive, competitive energy” they have together results in the best possible music. “If someone is saying ‘no’ to something or ‘It’s not right,’ the reason why is gonna come, and then the debate,” Swizz said of the process. “And you make the decision after that.”
Nelly Furtado has confirmed that she’s recruited The Neptunes to produce tracks for her next English record ‘Lifestyle’, who, as you know, recently enlisted Nelly to feature on the new N*E*R*D record “Hot-N-Fun”. Besides The Neptunes, Nelly has teamed up with the lead singer of awesome electro band Passion Pit, to record what she describes as “a pretty ballad”. Nelly has also taken some interesting musical inspiration for Lifestyle, revealing to Flare Magazine that she’s penned a new song called “The Edge” that was inspired by the Tiger Woods cheating scandal.
In addition to the producers already mentioned, Nelly has also recorded several songs with dance DJ Tiesto, as well as Ryan Tedder and Salaam Remi. She’s even clocked in more than twenty tracks with Timbaland, but it’s currently unclear whether he’ll make the final cut of her album, after she announced back in March that Timbo probably wouldn’t appear on Lifestyle. Lifestyle is currently due this Fall, meaning that it’s on track for a fourth quarter release.
This is the alternate version of The Neptunes produced tune Don’t Look Back by Papa Roach which shoulda been on their platinum album Getting Away With Murder from 2004 but it just had a B-Side release on the lead single Getting Away With Murder. The version that features N*E*R*D on the track has been released on The Biker Boyz OST from 2003 which shoulda been also a single according to Pharrell, you can get both version below for your iPod, thanks to Aaron.
Pharrell Williams is battling an Italian fashion firm over his Ice Cream clothing line. He’s suing the Gilmar Group for blocking a trademark application on his brand name on grounds that it’s too similar to Gilmar’s Ice and Iceberg labels. The acclaimed music producer claims that adding the word “cream” — street slang for money — “creates a vastly different sound, appearance, meaning and overall commercial impression.” Iceberg is a company that was founded in Italy in 1962 and opened its first showroom in New York in 1991. Pharrell launched his Ice Cream collection in 2004, along with his other brand, Billionaire Boys Club.
According to the Pharrell x Fasterlouder.com article, The Neptunes have been in the studio with Timbaland, T. I., Nicki Minaj, Avril Lavigne, Ciara and Rihanna. Pharrell Williams – musician, producer, designer, and perpetual nominee for the coveted “Awesomest Dude Alive” – is on the other end of the phone, and I’m a little bit starstruck. He’s taking some time out from putting the final touches on N*E*R*D’s fourth album, Nothing and from his countless other projects, including the score to a new animated movie Despicable Me written with Hans Zimmer and Heitor Pereira and performed by a 67-piece orchestra. “Thank God we finished that”, says Pharrell. “And…then I’ve also got a couple of other things going on, in art, that I can’t really talk about at the moment. But I definitely have some more art endeavours coming.
And when you see it you’ll notice it, because it’s from a grant – I got a grant to back me for it.And then, also the regular stuff. The BBC, Ice Cream [his clothing labels] – we’re doing some amazing things with Timbaland. And then, um, I dunno. I just went in with T.I., just went in with Gucci Mane, Nicki Minaj, uh, Shay’s stuff, Avril Lavigne – all people who wanted to try different things. Ciara, Rihanna…” All this, of course, has been going on at the same time as the sessions for the N*E*R*D album. So with everything that’s going on, with all the different sounds and styles that are clearly flying around inside his head, what can he tell us about Nothing?
“Uh…it is definitely…it’s timeless, in the sense that it borrows from different eras. And so, because it’s not from this time that makes it timeless. People could be listening to it at any time. You could have put it on at Woodstock, or put it on in the club tomorrow. It’s super-sexy sounding, but what we’re talking about is everyday issues.” It’s interesting that he brings up “sexy”; when Seeing Sounds came out Pharrell’s lyrics were blasted in US Rolling Stone with contributing editor Christian Hoard declaring that “you don’t learn much from Pharrell’s lyrics except that he’s horny.” Over to you, Pharrell… “You know what’s so funny? Everyone reads that same stupid review, from that same guy.
We’ve made that fucker famous. I mean, I’m sure in their own respect they are probably a great writer and do great things, but it was one writer. And yet we get asked that question every time because it’s come up on Google. That’s the one thing I would change.” “But I think that for the most part, when that review made it back to us, it was during a time when we were playing the songs for people [to preview Seeing Sounds ], and that particular batch of songs was very sexually oriented. So that person took it as the whole Seeing Sounds album was super-sexual. But it wasn’t – they just happened to hear a particular line-up of songs that happened to have sexual themes. But the person only heard five records, and I think there was a total of twelve or thirteen songs on the album.”
“So all that is to say, yes, there is a sexual slant to the things I write about. But, y’know, what part of the things that I write that are sexual don’t usually happen when making another human being? Y’know? OK, I’m saying sexual things, but how do we make people?” It seems to me that in the last 12 months, a lot of hip hop and rap artists have stopped using jazz hooks as the basis for their music, and instead have shifted to European house, techno or dance music; but will N*E*R*D be going down the same path? “Well, I don’t want to give away our secret,” Pharrell coyly comments, “But when everybody else is on the highway, we’ve been known to take planes. So, if that’s what everybody else is doing, good for them. But we wanna continue to rock this planet, rock this solar system.” What more can you ask for?
N*E*R*D’s ‘Nothing’ album is finally scheduled to arrive this September, after undergoing some serious reconstructive work and a sharp change in direction. According to Pharrell Williams, the decision to scrap 27 potential songs for the album earlier this year has inspired a completely new body of work. “We got rid of those tracks and started with nothing, so I was like, that’s what we need to do — we need to call [the album] ‘Nothing,” Pharrell tells The BoomBox. “At the end of the day, how did the world come about? They said it started with the Big Bang, but what was before the Big Bang? What comes before all great ideas? Before you’re inspired … Nothing!” Although Pharrell has repeatedly described the album’s current line-up of songs as “lifestyle” music, the N*E*R*D frontman doesn’t actually hold the new content in such light regard.
Observations on current events, technology, and the dizzying pace of daily life, were all driving forces in the effort to create an album dedicated to “escapism,” or an alternative reality. “We’ve had so many things going on, from the technological advancements of the iPod, and the iPad, which are genius,” Pharrell explains, beginning on a positive note. “But at the same time we also have technological failures like the oil spill and it feels a lot like the late 60s and early 70s. While I was too young to understand what we were going through, I’ve looked back at a lot of footage and newsreels from that era. And now we have issues like our dependency on fossil fuels, which has not proven to be a good thing.” “There are issues and people want to talk about them, but we don’t want to bring people down,” he continued, emphasizing that ‘Nothing‘ is intended to uplift the listener.
“We want to bring people up, make people happy, we’re tired of people thinking so much, That’s why in the middle of the ‘Hot-N-Fun’ song, you hear me say, ‘People don’t wanna think anymore, they just wanna feel, they wanna let go,’ for just for a second man. We need some kind of escapism and that’s what the ‘Nothing’ album is about.” Some of that escapism will appeal uniquely to the female psyche “in the same way that a Sandra Bullock film would,” Pharrell says, but by no means is it intended to be enjoyed only by the fairer sex. “This album is for black, white, gay, straight, tall, skinny, fat, whatever. As long as you have blood in your body, it’s for you. It’s just for you to listen and escape. While a lot of women hear it and they feel sexy, it’s not a sexual album. I’m not saying anything about a girl’s body necessarily. The focus is to liberate women and make them feel free and be happy about music and what music does to them.” ‘Nothing‘ is currently set for a September 7 release.
It is around 3:30PM and we’re in South Beach Studios in Miami Beach, Florida, shooting a music video with Pharrell Williams. Alex Germanotta, the DP of the video and I began talks with VA natives Clipse a little while ago. We wanted to shoot a video off of their album Till The Casket Drops, which features Pharrell, and fellow Virginia native Kenna. To say we were excited would be the biggest understatement ever. Pharrell Williams of The Neptunes, media mogul, fashion icon, soundtrack composer. We had shown up a couple of hours earlier to set up and were doing test shots when we got a call from Pharrell’s personal assistant, Mick.
I don’t know if y’all seen this documentary of Justin Timberlake’s VH1 Documentary of Justified on Youtube but I just came across of it and that’s new to me, but there’s nothing new if you seen the JT’s Studio Session DVD’s, nonetheless it still is interesting, check it out.
The Justified VH1 Launch Documentary 1
The Justified VH1 Launch Documentary 2
The Justified VH1 Launch Documentary 3
The Justified VH1 Launch Documentary 4
The Justified VH1 Launch Documentary 5
JoJo has stepped out of the spotlight for quite some time, having released her sophomore album The High Road four years ago. Now, the 19-year-old Boston singer is gearing up for the release of her third effort, All I Want Is Everything, to be released at the top of 2011, by putting out a new mixtape titled Can’t Take That Away From Me.
The songstress with a soulful voice compiled the new tape using songs she’s crafted over the course of a year. Listeners can expect to hear a broad range of topics and sounds on the project. From mainstream pop records to tunes tinged with hip-hop flavor, JoJo dabbled in many genres, including her favorite, which are the soulful records that compliment her voice best. “This mixtape is more experimental,” JoJo tells Rap-Up.com.
“I was able to explore the full spectrum of things that interest me and inspire me musically. Whereas the album, I wanted to make pop records and radio hits and things that satisfy me, but particularly for [All I Want Is Everything], it’s more of a continuous body of work. The mixtape, I was able to do some things that were more soulful, incorporate live instruments, and say things that I wouldn’t normally say on an album. I was just able to take more of a risk. It is all over the place, just like me.” While her albums tend to have a cohesive sound and a common thread, the mixtape jumps around in a manner she’s content with. As for the title, JoJo explains that its meaning comes from a very personal place. “It was kind of symbolic of some things I have been going through professionally as well as personally,” she reveals.
“Starting with the fact that I want to release music and you can’t really take what comes naturally to me, away from me.” Producer Chad Hugo of The Neptunes, and experimental artist Kenna, joined forces to create several tracks for Can’t Take That Away From Me. They’re the creators behind “Pretty Please,” “Kiss and Tell,” and “Shades.” Grammy Award-winning beatmaker Neff-U produced the mixtape’s title track as well as a song titled “Runnin’ on Empty.” Then there’s J. Gatsby, the musical director behind JoJo’s band and the producer of “In the Dark,” a record that finds the songstress moving away from that happy-go-lucky sound.
“I think ‘In the Dark’ is different than anything people have heard from me before,” says JoJo. “It’s a very sensual record and there’s an undertone of sadness to it.” All in all, Can’t Take That Away From Me is JoJo’s re-entry to the music industry. Fans have sat idle waiting for her to drop new material and the time has finally arrived. “I’m interested to see what people think because I am experimenting with sounds,” she admits. “My fans’ opinions really matter to me so I’m going to be looking to see what they gravitate towards. And of course, I’m a little nervous because I haven’t released material in a while. [But] I’m confident that people will dig what I release.” Can’t Take That Away From Me will premiere exclusively on Rap-Up.com on September 7. “In the Dark,” the first single from the mixtape, will also debut here later this month, Thanks to bigmac2098.
JoJo – Can’t Take That Away From Me (2010) (September 7th)
- Pretty Please (Chad Hugo, Kenna)
- Kiss & Tell (Chad Hugo, Kenna)
- Shades (Chad Hugo, Kenna)
Funky American hip-hop collective N*E*R*D were in London earlier this week promoting their fourth studio album entitled Nothing. The band, fronted by the legendary Pharrell Williams, is renowned for making soulful, rock-infused beats, accompanied by intensely catchy, feel-good riffs. i-D Online were invited to an intimate playback session at Present on Shoreditch High Street and caught up with Pharrell and band mate Shay Haley. Go Here to watch the video.
i-D Online: When you begin writing material for a new record, is it a team effort?
Shay Haley: We all throw in ideas. Not one man can manage to put together a montage of N*E*R*D.
Pharrell Williams: Yeah, it’s just not possible.
Shay: It’s definitely a collaborative effort. There are even people outside of N*E*R*D involved. We come up with the foundations and then have listening sessions to get ideas about what direction we should take certain songs. We all play a part in the creative process.
i-D Online: What flavours can fans expect to hear on this record?
Shay: There were so many inspirations – late 60s, 70s, a little bit of 80s; classic rock, from The Doors to Queen and a few soulful, folk moments. We also have some native tongue on the record too. N*E*R*D are notorious for taking bits and pieces from different eras and mashing them together.
i-D Online: Who are you listening to at the moment?
Shay: I really like MGMT’s new album. I’ve also been playing around with Passion Pit. And of course Drake, I really rate his new album.
‘Nothing‘ is due to be released later this year.
Pharrell Williams, The Human Sampler
Interview Magazine’s Collen Nika speaks with Pharrell Williams regarding one of his lesser known but increasingly projects, Bionic Yarn. The material constructed of recycled product made a high-profile debut within Pharrell’s recent collaboration with Moncler. The interview seen below details how he stumbled upon Bionic Yarn and the properties and possibilities of the material. A few questions can be seen below with a full look over at Interview Magazine’s.
Colleen Nika: How did the Moncler x Bionic Yarn collaboration happen? How did you bring your own design ideal to the brand’s noted high-tech sports aesthetic?
Pharrell: I’d been talking with Moncler for a while about doing a collaboration project with them. When they found out about Bionic Yarn we both felt it was a perfect fit for the capsule collection I had in mind. We used a print by Keita Sugiura, a young Japanese artist who was discovered at an art show put on by Takashi Murakami. We wanted to create something new and interesting, and while going through our original samples with Moncler, decided to kick it up a notch by adding the “bullet proof” vest. Like Moncler, a lot of my creative projects are inspired and driven by technology and style. Incorporating Bionic Yarn into the collection I made with Moncler was natural.
Pharrell Williams: Battle Of The Bands & Space Odyssey
I was to talk to and photograph Pharrell Williams at Irving Plaza. It was a 7-Eleven/Slurpee Battle Of The Bands event, and when I mentioned it to my crew, they went nuts. My gal pal, and every female in the clan, all begged to come along. You see, they say, Pharrell is the hottest. I took a real photographer, Tina Vaden, so I didn’t have to choose and disappoint, and got there early to catch the battle of the bands. I’ve been to Irving Plaza a zillion times. It’s a great place for a thousand people to see an act. Sound and sightlines, reasonably priced drinks, and diverse bookings have kept the place relevant for decades.
We got our sugar rush on, ready to meet Pharrell. He’s everywhere: new albums and the music for Despicable Me. Girls die for him, men respect him, and here he was, doing a good deed. The PR dude told me: “On the concrete side, Pharrell told us when he started working with the brand, that they entered this partnership with 7-Eleven because (in addition to the money) they care about helping out young bands. Pharrell even sacrificed most of his standard ticket price at the show for the cause—each ticket was just $7.11. N*E*R*D also wanted their fans to know there was a legit reason why a bigger band didn’t open up for them that night, and that was because they were showing support for the up-and-comers.”
Alyssa Bernal – 1st Studio Album (2010)
Producers & Guests: Martin Terefe
- Hey Love
- Never Woulda
- Cali, Cali, Cali (Single)
- Just In Time
- I Found You
- All I Need
- Here You Are
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