Hip hop artist Pharrell Williams was just signed on to be a vocal coach for NBC’s The Voice. He will start as coach next season, replacing Cee Lo Green. Williams is the perfect choice for the talent competition as he is a key music star of this generation. His most current hit song Happy already received numerous certifications including RIAA (2 x platinum), ARIA (5 x platinum), and BEA (gold). His knowledge and success involving the music industry will make him valuable to the show.
Pharrell Williams has been a fixture in the music scene for 22 years. He got his start when he joined The Neptunes, an R&B pop group which eventually was discovered by Teddy Riley. Williams formed the music group with childhood pal Chad Hugo, Mike Etheridge, and Shay Haley. The guys signed a contract with Riley upon graduating high school. Williams work went beyond his work with The Neptunes. He also helped write and produce a hit song for Wreckx-N-Effects, provided a rap solo for SWV’s Right Here (UK Remix).
By the time he was 21, he formed a music production duo with Hugo under the old name The Neptunes. Together, the duo produced a handful of songs. The duo’s sound first became most notable when they produced Mase’s hit song Lookin’ at Me back in 1997. A year later Williams helped produce N.O.R.E’s Superthug. It was this single that made it all the way to number 36 on the Billboard charts. The year after that, he helped produce then-newcomer’s Kelis’ breakout album Kaleidoscope. The next decade was even bigger for Williams and Hugo.
In the early 2000s, Pharrell Williams really started to define the decade musically, and that is just one of the 3 reasons he will rock The Voice as a coach. He helped produce Britney Spears’ hit song I’m a Slave 4 U back in 2001. This was really a landmark for the duo as the song shot to number 1 on the Billboard charts, a first for The Neptunes. That very same year, Williams and Hugo reunited with Haley to release an album under the band name N.E.R.D, titled In Search Of… which featured a sound similar to previous work. The group then re-recorded the album with another band Spymob. Williams has enjoyed immense success since the re-release in 2002 and has also continued to work with a number of artists. Notable collaborations include Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, Kelis, and Nas.
Pharrell Williams officially launched as a solo artist with the album In My Mind in 2005. This particular album showcased Williams’ finest work with other artists including Gwen Stefani, Nelly, and Kanye West. In the past eight years, Williams has gone on to do more collaborations, one of his most recent was the controversial Robin Thicke hit Blurred Lines and his current hit song Happy, which is featured in the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack.
The Voice is a show that celebrates music as well as the talented stars, this is the main reason why Pharrell Williams will rock as a coach. Talent and success are two things Williams has in spades.
Opinion by Anna Peel