Happy No More, Pharrell Williams and N.E.R.D Want to Wake You Up. Pharrell Williams remembers the exact moment when he realized he was ready to return to N.E.R.D, his long-running side project with Chad Hugo and Shae Haley. In the beginning of 2016, he dyed his hair green: “The minute I looked in the mirror, I was like, ‘Oh, starting N.E.R.D now.’” He had just left Nashville, where he’d been producing and writing on “Wanderlust,” an album by the unflinchingly smooth country group Little Big Town.
And he was coming off the peak of his career as a recording artist: “Blurred Lines,” his limber collaboration with Robin Thicke, and “Get Lucky,” his disco revival with Daft Punk, held No. 1 and 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 for a time in 2013; the next year, the pop-gospel hymn “Happy” became his first No. 1 as a lead artist, and the song that vaulted him into the stratosphere. He wore an artfully goofy hat to the Grammys. He joined “The Voice” as a coach. He sat for an interview with Oprah, and cried.
N*E*R*D will be performing at the Governors Ball Music Festival in New York on June 1st, you can get the tickets HERE !
Go-to sound engineer Mike Larson tells the stories behind “Lemon,” “Don’t Don’t Do It,” and the group’s return album. Since their 2001 debut, N.E.R.D. has changed the way artists and listeners see genre, breaking down the walls of rap, electronic, and rock to create albums that felt both futuristic and of the moment. No_One Ever Really Dies, the group’s fifth album, is a composite of pulsing ‘80s punk and booming 808s, surrounding a guest list of stars including Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, André 3000, and more.
The album speaks to America’s current divisions — Trump spouting hate in office and police killing unarmed black citizens in the streets — and its sound pierces and grates, much like the experience of spending time online in 2017. Sound engineer Mike Larson first started working with Pharrell in 2007 at South Beach Studios in Miami, where N.E.R.D. was recording Seeing Sounds. Since then, he’s worked on Pharrell’s solo albums and engineered his production for Rick Ross, T.I., Wiz Khalifa, and more. For Larson, working with N.E.R.D. fulfilled a lifelong dream.
Congrats to Aaron Whyte our Forum Member and Co. Admin for making his Fader debut with his Kelis article about the album that started it all. Back in 1999, a modern classic was set upon the world: Kelis‘ debut album, Kaleidoscope. It was the perfect soundtrack for the eve of a new millennium. Spaced-out pads, hard drum kicks, and cold synths gave the album a distinct electro-n-b feel we’d never heard before before.
Kaleidoscope brought together a collective sci-fi vision of the 21st century, and presented it in song. Over the span of 14 tracks, the album covered everything from troubled relationships to pondering the existence of alien lifeforms. Hell, there was even a song about her stoner boyfriend getting sent by NASA to colonize Mars, because… why not? Regardless of the subject matter of any given song, there was a clear theme throughout Kaleidoscope: the idea of escapism, whether that meant escaping a cheating partner, a bad situation, or even an entire planet. It felt driven by the underlying optimism that something greater was waiting around the corner. Check out the whole article HERE.
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