April 5, 1973 - Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Growing Up and the Formation of the Neptunes:
At the age of 7, Pharrell Williams' family left the inner city environment to move to a suburban area of Virginia Beach, Virginia. There he was exposed to a wide range of music from his parents' classic r&b to rock across the street and a mix of genres on pop radio. At junior high school band camp Pharrell Williams hooked up with friend Chad Hugo in an arrangement that would eventually turn into the Neptunes production duo.
Quote from Pharrell Williams:
From an interview with MTV:
"Resources. Let us connect with people. Let us build our education. Let us build our intelligence, and let us move. Because when I was given that opportunity, when I moved to the suburbs and the smoke cleared beyond the front of the housing projects that I grew up in, I was like, 'Oh sh--, there's so much to the world.'"
A performance in a high school talent show by Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo caught the attention of producer Teddy Riley. Through that connection Pharrell wrote Teddy Riley's rap verse for the huge 1992 hit single "Rump Shaker" by Wrecks-N-Effect. The pair were soon hired to work with SWV and Sean "Puffy" Combs hired them to produce music for Total and Mase. The biggest break for the Neptunes was "Superthug" by Noreaga, one of their production projects, hitting the pop top 40 in 1998.
Top Productions by the Neptunes:
Awards and Recognition:
In 2002 the Neptunes were named producers of the year at the Source Awards and the Billboard Music Awards. In 2003 Pharrell Williams took home 2 Grammy Awards when the Neptunes were named Non-Classical Producers of the Year, and they also received an award for their work on Justin Timberlake's album Justified, the Pop Vocal Album of the Year.
Trivia Fact About Pharrell Williams:
Pharrell Williams' favorite nickname is "Skateboard P."
N*E*R*D (an acronym for No one Ever Really Dies) is a rock trio formed by Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo, and Shae Haley. Their first album, 2002's In Search Of..., had disappointing sales and peaked at #56 on the pop albums chart. After more production successes by the Neptunes, N*E*R*D's second album Fly or Die appeared in 2004. It generated the top 10 pop single "She Wants to Move" and the album reached the top 10 as well.
In early 2005 Pharrell Williams began working on his first solo album In My Mind. The album has been delayed multiple times as he continues to work on projects for other artists. A first single, "Can I Have It Like That" featuring Gwen Stefani, was released in the fall of 2005. It was only a minor hit in the U.S. but reached the top 3 of the U.K. pop singles chart. A second single, "Number 1" featuring Kanye West, was released in May, 2006 and the album, In My Mind, in July.