Why Pharrell Williams Was 'Genuinely Shocked'

W Magazine

Pharrell Williams, by most accounts, is having an amazing year, and it all started with the Grammys.

"I was genuinely shocked by Grammy night," Williams told a special issue of W magazine, W:Art. "I had been happy running this career marathon. I didn't expect any medals. I was particularly amazed when I went backstage after winning the first Grammy and one of my managers told me that my hat now had its own Twitter account. During the show, a fan started tweeting as my hat."

So began Pharrell madness.

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Nevermind that Williams has been musical sensation most of his 41 years, producing for everyone from Justin Timberlake to Jay Z as a member of the Neptunes, and becoming cult famous with his band N.E.R.D., which he started with two middle school friends. When he released a solo album in 2006, it bombed.

"When the record failed, I decided that being a solo artist was just not my path. And I was okay with that," Williams told W.

"By 2013, I had accepted my role as the…camouflage," he continued. "I was the guy next to the guy, rather than the guy himself. All my formative years, I spent standing next to Jay [Z] or Justin [Timberlake] or all those kings. I've always learned from the masters, whether it's in music or art or fashion. But in 2013, it was different: Suddenly, it was not about being the cameo anymore."

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Soon after the Grammys, where Williams took home four awards, his single " Happy" shot to No. 1, and he performed on the Oscars stage - with his hat.

Now, Williams has out a new solo album, "G I R L ," which debuted at No. 2 in March, and he just joined "The Voice" as a coach.

"One thing I've learned is that this life is a movie and I am a co-creator," he told W. "It's a big movie, and there's a lot of creativity going on. As long as I play my part, it won't be over for quite a while."

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