He’s one of the best known musical collaborators of his generation, yet Pharrell Williams feels a bit out of the game. And he wants back in. The American hip hop pop rapper, who has worked with the likes of Madonna, Jay-Z, Gwen Stefani and Kanye West, is falling in love with music again after devoting all his energy to touring. “I just want to have fun with music again,” the three-time Grammy Award winner tells Insider. “I have been kind of out of it. I’ve been on the road a lot and just kind of, like, away from it. I haven’t put out a lot, but as of now I am a musical AK-47. It’s all about what sounds good and what feels good. I am in love with music all over again.” Williams is speaking to Insider from LA, shooting a television commercial and online viral video for Smirnoff vodka with N*E*R*D’s track Truth Or Dare as the soundtrack.
The theme for the campaign is “Start Pure”, and purity is a word the 38-year-old says he relates to in his music and the way he tries to live his life. “Purity is something that I haven’t been the best at, but I’ve tried so much because I think it happens to be a big part of my career and what people know me for, trying to stay pure to what feels right and what makes sense versus what everybody else does,” he says. “I’m human so I’m not always going to make the best decisions. The bulk of my work has been pure, but there’s definitely slip-ups where I’m, like, s..t I shouldn’t have done that. There’s also miscalculation, where you think something is pure and right and it turns out completely wrong.” As a solo artist, and as a member of N*E*R*D and The Neptunes, he has sold millions of albums.
He has worked on chart-topping tracks with Snoop Dogg, Ludacris and Britney Spears. More recently he has been touring with N*E*R*D visiting Australia earlier this year and describing the trip as “super sick”. But he’s happy to be back home and working on new solo material, as well as creating the soundtrack for Despicable Me Part Two. Williams also has a number of fashion projects on the boil and is set to collaborate with Jay-Z on a line of clothing. “And there’s another film we’re doing that takes place in Africa and there are all these incredible sounds,” explains Williams, who has modelled for Louis Vuitton and was once voted by Esquire magazine as being the best-dressed man in the world. “We just want to make full-good music, music that feels good, stimuli.”