Sunday, January 19, 2014

What 2014 Looks Like: Shout Out to Pharrell Williams

I'm over the moon that Singer/Writer/Producer/Designer/Entrepreneur Pharrell Williams' song Happy is nominated for an Academy Award!  Congratulations on this much-deserved accolade Pharrell!

I am overly ambitious because I realize it can be done.
Pharrell Williams from his Facebook page.

This post is not meant to be an exhaustive essay on the multi-talented Pharrell Williams, but rather my personal experience of how I learned about this phenomenal artist. My appetite for all things Pharrell has merely been whetted. I predict that this cultural icon will be responsible for the biggest trend of 2014.

I first learned of Pharrell's fabulousness when I saw a feature of his Miami apartment. This happens to me a lot since I'm addicted to decorating magazines and blogs. I often first learn of a celebrity when I see their home. When I fall in love with a person's home, it encourages me to learn more about them. I was blown away by Pharrell's cutting edge art collection, so I knew I wanted to know more about him.

Among his art collection are:

A giant plush flower ball by Takashi Murakami.  I adore Murakami's work, to see more of his work on this blog, see large Murakami pillows in Kanye West's office, here. I also included Murakami's work in a review of contemporary painters, here.

And how cool is this KAWS statute?  Kinda like Mickey Mouse with 'tude. Or the Michelin Man with swag. Pharrell definitely has the right idea when it comes to art. Go graphic and go big!

You know that a guy who wears pink boat shoes has got tons of mojo to spare. Above three images via Upscale Hype.  Pharrell is soft spoken and laid back, and has a sexy high pitched voice.  To me he is the ultimate in geek chic.  And I mean that as a compliment, I adore geeks.  Everything Pharrell touches turns to gold. He's very social as evidenced by his frequent collaborations. It must be thrilling to work on collabs with him. A couple of my favs are:  Beautiful with Snoop Dogg, Universal Mind Control with Common. and Get Like me with Nelly and Nicki Minaj.

Image via BlackBlaBla...

Pharrell has a great sense of style.  No one rocks a bow tie better. It's no surprise that he was tapped to be a guest judge on Project Runway All Stars (Season 1, Episode 9).  Designers were tasked with creating an Avant Garde look with lighting technology. The winner's design will be worn by one of Pharrell's artists.

The winning design was created by Austin Scarlett. This is one of my favorite episodes of Project Runway. Needless to say, I love Avant Garde and I adore Austin Scarlett. But it was more than that - it was Pharrell's gentle judging that made me happy. I always cry when artists are criticized harshly and eliminated. As an artist who is sensitive to criticism, I understand their pain and am in awe of their bravery. It gladdened my heart when Pharrell told Austin that he is a star. Indeed. Takes one to know one.

Pharrell has written countless scores for movies, TV and spun many hits for other talented artists. So it comes as no surprise, that he's even designed clothes for the line he co-founded, Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream. Pharrell has been present in my life lately, almost by accident (although there's really no such thing as an accident). I recently discovered the work of fashion designer extraordinaire Ozwald Boateng. I won't say too much about Ozwald at this point because he is the subject of an upcoming post. I highly recommend the movie A Man's Story.

I'm always fascinated by the marriage of fashion and music. I enjoy seeing the process of how a designer chooses music for his runway show, and how that music flavors the movement and the clothes. While watching this movie, I heard a song that infected me. I needed to know more.  After investigation, I found the song was entitled Lapdance by N.E.R.D. When I heard the song in the film, I thought I heard the unmistakable sexy sounds of Pharrell.  I was correct, he is the lead vocalist and drummer of N.E.R.D.  Now every time I listen to Lapdance, I can see Ozwald bobbing his head in his sexy way.

N.E.R.D. stands for no one ever really dies. Their music is a stripped down, sophisticated minimalism, an attempt to make something out of nothing. Okay, these pithy words aren't mine. Wish they were. Suffice it to say they're dope.  N.E.R.D.'s influence is clear on Get Like Me. Click the link N.E.R.D. to read an amazing essay on their work. I get the sense that Pharrell loves his life and his work, and that this collab was done like many of the things he does. That is, with a grassroots flavor, and a spirit of comradery.  It must be great to work with him.

Pharrell is a skilled entrepreneur. Have you heard of Quarterly Co.?  Quarterly Co. is a subscription service that enables people to receive items in the mail quarterly from influential curators of their choice. Pharrell is one of the curators you can subscribe to. His theme is curiosity, and he reminds us that "it's important to live each day like a student." How fun would that be to receive a gift from Pharrell every three months?  If interested in a subscription, click here  (This is not a sponsored post.) He's even written a book called Places and Spaces I've Been.

How does he get the energy to do all that he does? Because he loves it. When you love what you do, it's not work. Pharrell exudes love, and love is evident in all that he does. That he has achieved success doing it is a testament to the laws of attraction. They work. Which brings me to the song Happy. If you haven't heard it yet, take a listen. I guarantee you will be bobbing your head and clapping your hands.

After steady doses of the raunchiness of hip hop and gangsta rap (which I confess, I still love), I find this incredibly refreshing.  Pharrell is redefining cool and it makes me happy. I have listened to this song over and over, and it has chased away the blues for me. I've been dancing and singing while cleaning my apartment. Pharrell has even started a cultural movement called.  i am OTHER.
i am OTHER celebrates people who push society forward.
 The thinkers. The innovators. The outcasts. 
History has proven that it’s the rule breakers
who have the power to change the world.

From the manifesto. Pharrell has also produced the world's first ever 24 hour music video, called
24 Hours of Happy.  Viewers can visit the site and they are automatically taken to the point in the video that the time on their computer reflects.  At the top of the hour, Pharrell performs the song, so he appears in the video 24 times.  Following his performance 14 unique cameos play in four minute intervals, all filmed in Steadicam. The performers are all unique and so lovable.  The video can be watched in real time, or you can skip to a different time of day.  You can even share favorite moments on Twitter and Facebook.  A superb example of how the technology connects us all.  For more information on 24 Hours of Happy, click here.  Here's a confession - which I'm a little afraid to admit. But perhaps admitting it will hold me accountable. I'm thinking of doing a Vlog dancing to Happy.  (Gasp! Fear just surged through my body.)

Can't get enough Pharrell?  Me neither. Here's a twitter feed with Pharrell's quotes.  Pharrell, I hope you win the Academy Award.  And thanks for being an inspiration and chasing my tenacious blues away.  Happy is going to be my theme song for the year.

Here's a prediction for 2014.  Remember you heard it here first.  I predict Pharrell will be the most significant cultural icon of the year.  My dear friends, thanks for reading.  And here's my wish for you for 2014:

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