Pharrell Reveals 2 Of His Biggest Hits Were Made For Prince & CeeLo
Interviews with Pharrell Williams can be rare, but when new ones surface, they usually impart some pretty profound knowledge or perspective. That remained the case with one he did recently with Clash Magazine‘s Grant Brydon. The 45-year-old producer/singer from Virginia Beach revealed some pretty interesting tidbits about a couple of his most well-known singles.
When asked about the 10-year anniversary of N*E*R*D’s Seeing Sounds album, the recent 15th anniversary of his monstrous single “Frontin,” and just collaborating with artists in general, Skateboard P revealed some jewels. P says that he wrote his aforementioned breakout solo single for Prince to be on and sing the hook, rather than having it strictly for him and his debut album, In My Mind. He also said he did the same for CeeLo Green, who he imagined would be the one singing in his 2013 Grammy Award-winning single “Happy.”
“All of my biggest songs were songs that I did with or for other people,” Pharrell told the mag. “Collaboration has always been part of my DNA. And, to be clear and to be honest, songs that I ended up putting out by myself were always songs that I wrote for other people. I made ‘Frontin’ for Prince, and even ‘Happy,’ I wrote that for CeeLo.”
P maintains that the Goodie Mob co-founder could have had an infectious follow-up to 2010’s “F*ck You” and his catchy craze with Gnarls Barkley. “Still to this day I feel like CeeLo would have done a much better job on ‘Happy’ than me,” he continued. “His voice just really is something else, and I like that he’s a character. And imagine if Prince had sung ‘Frontin’? I mean, come on!”
“Frontin” was written by Pharrell, featured JAY-Z, and was produced by The Neptunes. Previously, Williams insisted the song was just a one-off and did not consider himself much a vocalist at the time of its release. It’s probably less of a surprise that Pharrell would’ve wanted CeeLo on “Happy” considering his falsetto voice matches similarly to the Goodie Mob singer/rapper. Back in 2014, Pharrell went as far as to say that “Happy” was actually recorded by and for CeeLo explicitly, however the “powers that be” prevented that version of the track.
Also during the interview, Pharrell Williams spoke about anniversaries of his work and receiving acknowledgment for his catalog. “I’m always grateful about any kind of acknowledgment, but I think my current settings, my current modus operandi, is about moving forward, making sure anything I do just feels like it’s timeless,” he said. “So it’s not just a good idea for that moment, but ‘Man, how’s it going to feel in 10 years?’” He also spoke about creativity and everyone’s ability to be creative in some way.
Most recently, Pharrell has been collaborating on tracks for other artists. In April, he joined N.O.R.E. for a song and video, honoring Robert Palmer’s “Addicted To Love” video, called “Uno Mas.” Late last year, he joined Migos for the song and video release of “Stir Fry.”