Pharrell Williams collaborated with French conceptual artist Sophie Calle for her latest show in Paris where Pharrell had the assignment to write a song dedicated to the memory of her late cat Souris with other 37 contributors including Bono, Michael Stipe, Arnaud Cathrine and more. Many contributors chose to compose pieces specifically about Souris, while others wrote songs about cats in general and some focused on the broader themes of grief, loss, and absence.
The resulting three-volume compilation featuring 39 Songs debuts at Calle’s solo show at Galerie Perrotin in Paris, which opened on Saturday. Visitors can listen to each track at stations around the gallery and view the video Calle sent to musicians for inspiration, as well as a selection of accompanying texts, photographs, and other works dealing with loss and grief. “You can’t say that. I mean, if I say my mother or my father is dead, everyone tells me, ‘Oh, poor thing, she lost her mother, oh, poor thing, she lost her father,’ but if we say that about our cat, we seem ridiculous. It makes me laugh, when for me, in my daily life, it was almost more violent, because I lived with my cat. I didn’t live with my parents.” Check out my Extended Version below.
DOPE Magazine: Lets first talk about your set tonight. What does N.E.R.D have in store for Las Vegas at Life Is Beautiful?
Chad Hugo: Life Is Beautiful because life isbeautiful. When we get on stage, it’s like theater. We’re like a theater production. We’ve got dancers, a huge LED screen, a band, Pharrell, Shae, and I just wildin’ out playing our songs. Some stuff from our old albums, some stuff from our current album, “No One Ever Really Dies.” We’re just so excited to be here.
You mentioned Pharrell and Shae. N*E*R*D has been together for a lot longer than people think. You guys all grew up together, right?
I used to have a studio [above] a garage and people would bring over samples and stuff. We used just make music. Pharrell and I were in like a gifted and talented program and we just got together and started making music together. Kinda like our own little art school, except we weren’t enrolled in art school. We were always just striving to be on the radio in Virginia Beach.
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Following Rizzoli’s best-selling ‘Pharrell: Places & Spaces I’ve Been’, this volume documents the continuing adventures in art and design of one of the most influential figures in contemporary music and popular culture. Lavishly illustrated with 250 photographs and illustrations, this book features Pharrell Williams’ prolific and ever-expanding body of work in a graphic language all his own. Straddling art, design, and hip-hop, Pharrell’s creative output is without peer or precedent.
By playing off different disciplines—music, fashion, and contemporary art—Pharrell has redefined the role of the contemporary artist, blazing a trail for other musicians and cultural figures. Expanding on themes covered in Places & Spaces I’ve Been, this book gathers a new group of collaborators. Engaging Pharrell in conversation, talents as diverse as Karl Lagerfeld and Takashi Murakami position Pharrell’s work within contemporary visual and material culture.
The worldwide success of the song “Happy” to his soundtrack and production credit for the Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures bookend a volume devoted to Pharrell’s mastery of artistic collaboration. Featuring work with artists as diverse as JR, Alex Katz, Mr., and Daniel Arsham, the book highlights recent projects and designs for Chanel, Moncler, Moynat, and Adidas. But at the heart is the visual language that Pharrell has built around his Ice Cream/Billionaire Boys Club clothing line, which integrates streetwear into the design of apparel, accessories, limited-edition toys, and skate graphics. This alone makes the book a must-have collectible.
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