Pharrell Williams – A guy with Character

HappyYou may know Pharrell Williams as the guy that wrote and performed “Happy” the huge hit from the movie Despicable Me 2.  To some, he’s an overnight sensation.  But there’s more to the story than that.

It’s a story of PERSEVERANCE and TENACITY.  Two of the most important character traits while working towards success.

You see, the song “Happy” was not just written and produced by some guy that happened to be in the music business, and then thrust into overnight stardom.  It was a long arduous road.  Here’s the quick story of how “Happy” was written:

Pharrell met his producing partner Chad Hugo in 7th grade.  Along with Shay Haley and Mike Eldridge they formed a group called The Neptunes.   Picked up after a high school talent show they got they’re first “break” by signing with Teddy Riley.  Remember, this is in high school, circa 1990.

Then, in 1992, Pharrell got had his first hit by writing a verse for 1992’s hit “Rump Shaker”.   By 1998, with a few small hits along the way, Williams and Hugo became a producing duo and kept The Neptunes name.  By 2001 they were producing Britney Spears #1 Album “I’m A Slave For You”.  Then in 2002, they produced Nelly’s #1 hit “Hot in Herre”.

Ok.  Long story short.  Pharrell Willliams kept at it and kept at it.  And here’s the end (or the beginning of his REAL stardom).  Pharell co-wrote the music for the first Despicable Me movie.  The producers were so  happy with his work, that they asked him to write the music for the second movie.  For a particular scene, they wanted a song that was simply… happy.  That made the character happy and would make the audience happy.  Pharrell SUBMITTED 9 SONGS and all were turned down by the producers.  All 9 songs.  Many people would have given up.  But remember, Pharrell has tenacity.  He has perseverance on his side.  He cleared his mind and came up with the 10th song.  He submitted “Happy” to the producers.  They loved it!

The rest is, as they say, history.  Seven Grammy’s later, an upcoming stint on the hit show The Voice and numerous options in front of him, Pharrell Williams has made it.  Really made it.  And yes he has amazing talent.  Yes, he has a great work ethic.  But most of all, he persevered.  He stuck to it.  And now it’s all paying off!

I welcome your comments.

Dedicated to adding character to the classroom (and outside the classroom)
John Abrams –
Southern California’s Top Elementary School Assembly Performer

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