Masterclass with Pharrell

What does Pharrell bring to the studio with his presence? Kaarle Hurtig discusses Pharrell's dynamism and creative knowingness.

What does Pharrell bring to the studio with his presence? Kaarle Hurtig discusses Pharrell's dynamism and creative knowingness.

Pharrell by Tytti Roto

Tytti Roto

Francesco Yates is a Canadian singer in his early twenties. When working on his debut album back in 2014, the good people at Atlantic Records decided a touch of Pharrell Williams was something Yates’ album needed. Pharrell was called in. Pharrell’s rules are clear: only people who had an active role on the song are allowed into the studio. So Pharrell arrived to hang out at the studio, he said his hellos, had a little chat here and there and took his place at the studio desk. He propped his elbows on the table, put his fingers on the temples of his head, and stayed there for a good 10-15 minutes. When he finally lifted his head, he grabbed the keys and laid down the basis for the melody and with a drum pad hit out the beat. This was to become the bones for Yates’ ‘Change the Channel’.

When Pharrell was asked what the time spent zoning out was all about, he told that it was time spent looking for any doubts, outside frameworks that needed pleasing or unnecessary questions that need answering – and then to kill them off one by one. I guess it was a time for him to find himself in that moment.

And then this: Pharrell sits down to a Masterclass with Students at NYU Clive Davis Institute (VIDEO), and a young Maggie Rogers comes in at the 18:25 mark. It all comes full circle to Yates and leaning palms. Pharrell describes how he sees Maggie’s thing, and he manages to describe the goal of killing doubt. Finding the right him or her for the moment. And I love that he reminds us that everybody has that.

Singular view, singular feel, singular truth of self. When the shit’s about that, you got 100% monopoly – embrace it. Singularity motherfuckers.

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