In an interview with Oprah, what began as a discussion about Pharrell Williams’ song Happy resulted in a teary-eyed display of appreciation for his fans and how much they have supported him over the years. Happy, which has been number one in over 30 countries, and held the number one spot on the US top 100 chart for 12 weeks straight, was written by Pharrell as an attempt to capture his own sense of happiness. Once it was released, however, the song was taken over by fans around the world who took to video in capturing expressions of happiness in their own lives. It was in observing these individual displays of happiness, that Williams began to shed tears of happiness himself.
Pharrell explained to Oprah that once Happy was release, it was no longer his own. The video to Happy, which came out last November, was followed by parodies worldwide of individuals who recorded their own version of the both the song and the video. Additionally Pharrell himself also created another version of the video that has been dubbed “the world first 24-hour video,” which features a variety of cameos from Steve Martin to Steve Carell, as well as every day instances of people dancing and singing to the song through the streets of LA.
What came of Happy was a dynamic response from people worldwide. Oprah, during the interview, showed Pharrell a montage of videos of fans from countries like Slovakia, Germany, Taiwan, and Portugal. It was during these clips that Pharrel’s emotional response became visible as his eyes filled with tears. Once the collage of videos had finished, Williams jokingly asked himself why he was crying on Oprah. Then Oprah expressed that she understood why he was feeling that way, because the song was being used for something far greater than himself, having inspired people to appreciate instances of happiness in their own lives.
As Pharrell continued to shed tears of happiness, he expressed that the experience was overwhelming. He stated that he was so lucky to love what he does and appreciates that people have believed in him for so long that he could be at this point in his career where he can really feel the impact that his music is having on his fans.
Apologizing to Oprah for how emotional he became, Oprah reassured Williams that she “got it.” She articulated that she gets it entirely, now, why the song had been so infectious. “It cam from a clear space,” Oprah said, where the energy was completely uninterrupted, allowing it to flow from heart to heart, which is exactly what happens when people experience the song and the videos: a heartfelt expression of happiness.
Pharrell began the interview explaining to Oprah that, ironically, the song had received zero airplay when it was initially released. The Oscar nominated song, which was originally feature on the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack, did not become a billboard success until the video was released, having gone viral almost immediately afterwards.
Now the song is a global phenomenon, the impact of which comes from it being not only an inherently inviting tune, but also offering a sound that is familiar to people – a sound that provides the listener with a reminder of the happiness that exists in everyday moments. As the top hit from Pharrell’s new album G I R L, the catchy and cheerful song Happy has encouraged people from around the world to shard glimpses of happiness in their own lives, and caused Pharrell to shed tears of happiness of his own over the experience of it.
By Natalia Sanchez