We met singer Pharrell Williams at the Brooklyn Public Library when he was promoting his new book, “Happy.”
How did it feel to have your hit single “Happy” be a huge hit and loved by people of all ages?
It has been overwhelmingly humbling. Even as I sit before you right now, I’m honored. This is not something that happens for most people. I’m just ever so grateful.
Have you ever thought about making a sad song?
You know I’m also in a band called NERD, it stands for No one Ever Really Dies, and sometimes we’ve made sad songs. I don’t know what it is with me and one word songs. I had a song 10 years ago called “Beautiful” with Snoop [Dogg].
Do you have a particular role model or person that influenced you?
On different levels. I think for the most part, God, this universe. It’s the biggest role model. But I look up to a lot of people.
What was your favorite part about being a judge on “The Voice”?
My favorite part is meeting all those really talented people. There are so many talented people. It’s unbelievable. The show reminds you very quickly there’s two kinds of singers. There are people who just have really good voices and they know they have good voices, but there’s something about them . . . that person can sing, but they have this fire that you just can’t put your finger on it but you just know that it’s in there. . . . But then there’s certain people who kind of don’t have it and that’s really tough because they can sing way better than anyone. . . . That’s the toughest thing, but the greatest thing is when you discover people who just have this amazing fire on the inside. It’s amazing.
We know you steal chicken nuggets. Do you still do that?
No. In fact I don’t eat fast food anymore. I try to eat clean and healthy. I’m only guilty of eating a certain candy bar that I have not been able to give up yet. Other than that, I eat pretty clean.
When you look back on your career what do you want to be remembered for?
Really good question: I’m grateful. Back in the day, when I was younger, I probably would have said, “Oh my music,” but I’m just eternally grateful.
Did you write your song “Happy” for “Despicable Me” or did they use your song?
I wrote it for “Despicable Me.”
We know you’re a pop star but what’s your favorite type of music?
All kinds. Believe it or not, there’s good music in almost all genres, in my opinion. I’m open to it and it’s the only way you can sing it or learn it, if you stay open. I’m still wrestling with the pop star thing.
Do you have any hobbies that the public doesn’t know about?
I think they all know. Mario Kart, really wrong YouTube videos, people falling, funny movies.
You do so many charitable things for underprivileged children. What is your inspiration for being so generous with your time and success?
Because it dawned on me that none of this had to be the way it is. The minute that I realized that, I realized that I probably shouldn’t spend more time bragging about things that I have or bragging about the things that I do, just probably spend more time with just being gracious and doing as much good will as I can.
Who would you like to write a song with?
Probably Taylor Swift. That would be interesting.