Blog: News & Views

Watch: Oscar nominee Pharrell Williams on what makes him 'Happy'

By Rob Licuria
By Rob Licuria
Jan 31 2014 17:07 pm

Pharrell Williams Happy song Oscars

As he wrote "Happy," it look Pharrell Williams and his colleagues a long time until they were happy with the song he created for "Despicable Me 2."

In our webcam chat, Pharrell reveals how he kept "getting poked and prodded to get it right" by producers who weren't satisfied with his attempts: "It was like, 'This is good, but it's not great. This is great, but it ain't incredible. Ah, it's not quite incredible, but you know what, we also need undeniable.'"

Ultimately, his finished tune was so undeniably great that it reaped him an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song.

Pharrell is no stranger to awards, having won seven Grammys over the years, including four just last week for Producer of the Year, Album of the Year as a featured artist on Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories," and Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance with Daft Punk for 2013 megahit "Get Lucky." And two years after his gig composing and producing the music for the 84th Academy Awards alongside composer Hans Zimmer, he returns to the Oscars this year as a first-time nominee.

How he got there is a compelling story he shares in our chat as he reveals the triumphant moment when  he believed he got "Happy" just right and sent it off to be judged by the film's co-producer and Illumination Entertainment CEO Chris Melandandri and Universal Pictures music chief Mike Knobloch.

"It was a Friday, I'll never forget," he says. "I told them listen to the song on the way home, but do me a favor, listen to it twice. Back to back. Don't hesitate. As soon as it's done, hit repeat. If you don't like it, then I won't hear from you. If you do like it, give yourself the weekend, and let me know what you think. And on Monday, I got an email from him that said, 'Not only do I love it, but me and my wife went and drove and listened to it in the car, and we listened to it over and over again, and the studio loves it. Congratulations, this is the record'."

It's no secret that Oscar voters warm to songs that are featured within a film, propelling the story forward, rather than playing out over rolling end credits. Pharrell's track does that in spades, as the protagonist Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell) dances along to "Happy" through the streets with sheer joy. It surely played a part in grabbing Oscar voters' attention, and upon seeing the final product, Pharrell says he couldn't have been happier. "Me and my wife, we were teary eyed" Pharrell admits. "Nine times I tried to get that scene and song right. … I could not believe, I was so honored that Gru was walking to my song."



Related News
Follow Gold Derby
Click Here


Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Hot Links from the Web
Inside Track: Emmy Voting

EXCLUSIVE: See the episodes
submitted to Emmy judges
by actors and TV series

Every actor submits only one sample episode, which will be judged by other actors (ranging from 25 to 75 per category jury) between July 28 and August 14. TV series submit six, which will be split into three pairs to be distributed randomly to about 300 voters. We now have uncovered every single title submitted for the 2014 races. CLICK HERE FOR THE EPISODES

We analyze the pros and cons
of episodes submitted by actors
to Emmy judges

Who submitted well? Click links below to read our in-depth analysis of each actor's episode entry. 

Dylan Baker ("The Good Wife")
Beau Bridges ("Masters of Sex")
Reg E. Cathey ("House of Cards")
Paul Giamatti ("Downton Abbey") 
obert Morse ("Mad Men")
Joe Morton ("Scandal")

Kate Burton ("Scandal")
Jane Fonda ("The Newsroom")
Allison Janney ("Masters of Sex")
Kate Mara ("House of Cards")
Margo Martindale ("The Americans")
Diana Rigg ("Game of Thrones")

Steve Buscemi ("Portlandia")
Louis C.K. ("SNL")
Gary Cole ("Veep")
Jimmy Fallon ("SNL")
Nathan Lane ("Modern Family")
Bob Newhart ("The Big Bang Theory")

Uzo Aduba ("OITNB")
Laverne Cox ("OITNB")
Joan Cusack ("Shameless")
Tina Fey ("SNL")
Melissa McCarthy ("SNL")
Natasha Lyonne ("OITNB")


Photo Galleries: Oscars, Emmys, ...
Emmy Nominees: Video Interviews
Subscribe to our free news service