All Articles Tagged "Pharrell Williams"

Pharrell And Robin Thicke’s Settlement In “Blurred Lines” Case Reduced

July 16th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Getty

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt ruled that the fine from the copyright infringement case for “Blurred Lines” versus Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up” will be reduced from $7.4 million to $5.3 million, reports The Huffington Post.

Judge Krondstadt also ruled Marvin Gaye’s family will receive 50 percent of the song’s future royalties. Marvin Gaye’s family’s attorney Richard Busch said of the ruling:

“Mr. Thicke and Williams, and their legal team, among others, went on a public relations campaign after the jury’s verdict criticizing the verdict and saying the evidence did not support the finding of copyright infringement, and did not believe the decision on liability would therefore stand. The judge who actually heard all of the evidence disagreed. I am thrilled for the Gaye family, and the thoughtful members of the jury, who had to listen to all of that while remaining silent.”

The cut in retribution means Robin Thicke and Pharrell will only have to pay $5.3 million to the Gaye family. Originally, Marvin Gaye’s family was seeking $25 million in settlement money. In our original reports, it was revealed:

“Williams and Thicke walked away with more than $5 million each from profits, and the song earned $8 million in total revenue. It was also revealed that Thicke claimed he was under the influence of alcohol and drugs most of the time during recording, and doesn’t remember much of how the song came together. On the stand, Williams, who produced and sang on “Blurred Lines,” did agree that the song and “Got to Give It Up” sound similar, but he denied any intention to copy it. As reported by the New York Times, Williams stated that “I must have been channeling that feeling, that late-’70s feeling.” 

Despite the court ruling, many still debate whether or not “Blurred Lines” and Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up” are identical in sound. But the music world is already reacting with Miguel crediting Bill Corgan and the Smashing Pumpkins song “1979” on the new song “Leaves.”

“It’s all about respect,” Vulture quotes Miguel saying. Thoughts on the similarity?

 

Is This The End of Robin Thicke?

March 11th, 2015 - By Charing Ball
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Is This The End of Robin Thicke?

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You know, there was a time when I used to adore Robin Thicke.

It was around the time of his first single, “When I Get You Alone.”

The song was hot. However there was something uniquely interesting about Thicke’s appearance; particularly his long hair and grungy Kurt Cobain-look, which also added to his appeal. It didn’t seem forced or like he was trying to overstep boundaries like so many other White entertainers who dibbled and dabbled in soul music at the time. Instead, he embodied all the elements of a cool White “urban” dude who just happened to have a decent voice and appreciation for soulful music.

And I could dig it. Soul music has produced a number of legitimately great Blue-eyed artists over the years. Teena Marie is one. Michael McDonald is another. And honestly, I thought that Thicke, who also played live instruments, could have been one of the good ones too. But for whatever reason that version of Thicke never did catch on.

I was reintroduced to Thicke during an India Arie concert held several years back in the outskirts of Philadelphia. It was on the eve of his return to music and he was Arie’s opening act. I took joy in being one of only five other Black people at this predominately Black concert who actually knew who the hell he was. But I was also disappointed because who I was seeing, wasn’t the same Thicke.

First one, he’d cut he hair. Secondly, he wasn’t in the grungy bike message outfit anymore; instead, he wore a suit and dress shoes. And even his music got a bit more provocative but still romantic. He was a mature family man now with grown man wants and needs. Everything about his new image felt like he was trying to cash in on what was happening now in Soul music. I wanted not to be mad. It wasn’t his fault that people weren’t feeling the stuff he was doing before. And clearly it appeared to be working. By the end of his set, the once hesitant and indifferent Philly audience gave him a rousing applause. A few folks even yelled out, “Go ‘head White boy…”

And he most certainly did go on. But as time and album sales progress, Thicke’s image also went through another transformation. Instead of the family man, he started hanging out late nights with the rappers. He wore sunglasses indoors and began talking like Rat Pack members. His love songs were replaces with tracks about blurring lines. He was cocky and obnoxious and a far cry away from the cute White boy with the decent voice.

It is a good thing that this verdict in the “Blurred Lines/Got To Give It Up” case came down the way that it did. Not just for the sake of the estate of Marvin Gaye. And not just so that I can say I told you so in what had to be the most unnecessary divisive pop culture issue in the Black community. But also for the sake of Thicke. Perhaps this verdict is the wake up call he needs? Maybe now he’ll realize that it is time to ditch those stupid sun shades, get himself into a good rehab program where he can get his mind right and get back to the old Thicke? I mean, he don’t have to grow out his hair or anything, but at least he can stop being so sleazy.

With that said even with a complete 180 shift, it might be too late for Thicke’s career. At least in R&B and Soul genre anyway.

Even with the best and most popular “urban” producers and songwriters at his disposal, I just don’t see Thicke being able to regain the trust of the very loyal fan base, who got him on top. The fan base, which he worked so hard over the years to appeal to with his various makeovers. In particular, those Black fans who fought tooth and nail in defense of Thicke, even going as far as to throw out terms like “reverse racism” and make claims of bigotry at other people who rightfully pointed out the similarities between both tracks. It sounds in jest, but those arguments got pretty divisive and ugly and included lots of deep-seated racial conflicts based around historical realities.

For instance, one of the more popular arguments was that “we” – as in other Black people who happened to side with the estate of Marvin Gaye – had no problem with Black rappers sampling other people’s music. While it has been true that many Black producers and DJs had a long history of abusing the sampling machine, it has also been true that many of those same entertainers have been successfully sued in courts for copyright infringement.

As noted by Public Enemy’s Chuck D in this archived interview from Stay Free! Magazine:

Corporations found that hip-hop music was viable. It sold albums, which was the bread and butter of corporations. Since the corporations owned all the sounds, their lawyers began to search out people who illegally infringed upon their records. All the rap artists were on the big six record companies, so you might have some lawyers from Sony looking at some lawyers from BMG and some lawyers from BMG saying, “Your artist is doing this,” so it was a tit for tat that usually made money for the lawyers, garnering money for the company. Very little went to the original artist or the publishing company.”

And yet while the record companies and their lawyers are making fortunes reclaiming “their” music from the rappers, many Black entertainers have yet to see a dime for the years of their own work being stolen and misappropriated.

This includes Pat Boone, who made an entire fortune off of revamping Black music for White consumption. Since it was the 50s, everything was segregated. And since white people owned everything including the radios, it was extremely unlikely that Black artist found their ways to the airways. Boone began recording in 1954 and gain massive success with his Wonder Bread-version of Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That a Shame.” And throughout his career, he would re-image the work of dozens of popular Black artists including Little Richard, The El Dorados and even Nat King Cole – most times without their consent and pre-approval.

Even worse Boone has always been a hard right conservative, who not only was a huge supporter of Ronald Reagan, but also a “birther,” who thinks President Barack Obama is Arab Muslim with a photoshopped birth certificate and therefore, disqualified for the presidency of the United States. And this proves once again that not everyone who performs – or even likes – Black music, actually likes Black people.

And I’m not saying that Thicke is some closet racist like Boone. I surely hope not! But it is going to be hard for many folks to now think about Thicke – and this whole mess involving the estate of Marvin Gaye – without thinking about Boone and all the misappropriation and flat-out exploitation of Black music over the decades. I mean, he filed a pre-emptive lawsuit against the estate, in lieu of just paying them off. Short of wearing an afro and Dashiki and singing protest songs in the key of #BlackLivesMatter, there isn’t an revamped image cool enough on this planet to make people forget about that.

Honestly, Pharrell and T.I, who were co-defenders in this lawsuit, should be on the music shit list too. And likely they are. I can certainly see some of the higher up music executives thinking the two are liabilities now. With that said, (and if I can be uber-frank here) Pharrell and T.I. are Black . And as much as some folks might want to trade them away in the racial draft (and as much as they both might want to leave voluntarily) we are all stuck together on this ship called the U.S. White supremacy.

Thicke, on the other hand, is a privileged White guy with lots of options musically to go. And if Black people have to work twice as hard in society for half as much, he should be given those same expectations in respects to our culture. Therefore, his soul music pass just might be revoked.

“Pharrell Created ‘Blurred Lines’ From His Heart, Mind And Soul”: Rep For Producer Says They Might Appeal Copyright Infringement Decision

March 11th, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Could this whole copyright infringement trial over “Blurred Lines” not really be over? That’s what we’re wondering after checking out a statement from Pharrell Williams’ rep about the controversial decision. It seems that an appeal or a whole new case could be requested.

Obtained by Billboard, the producer’s rep issued a statement (which would end up being a statement for Williams, Robin Thicke and T.I.–with the rapper being off the hook for his small role in the song) saying that they are “extremely disappointed” by the jury’s decision. They are weighing out their options and the artists just might not cough up the $7.3 million they were ordered to pay Marvin Gaye’s family for being a little too ‘inspired’ by his 1977 hit, “Got To Give It Up.”

“While we respect the judicial process, we are extremely disappointed in the ruling made today, which sets a horrible precedent for music and creativity going forward. Pharrell created ‘Blurred Lines’ from his heart, mind and soul and the song was not taken from anyone or anywhere else. We are reviewing the decision, considering our options and you will hear more from us soon about this matter.”

If you were following the case, you know that even though Williams said that he has always looked up to Gaye, he claimed that he was inspired by the 70’s sound when he put the track together–not necessarily “Got To Give It Up” specifically.

“The last thing you want to do as a creator is take something of someone else’s when you love him.”

People have been debating whether or not “Blurred Lines” was a complete rip-off considering that the melodies are very similar–even if everything else about it is different. Check out this mash-up below and share your thoughts.

 

Got To Give It Up: Jury Finds Pharrell And Robin Thicke Copied Marvin Gaye’s Music For “Blurred Lines”

March 10th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Robin Thicke

A jury has decided that artists Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke copied Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit song “Got to Give It Up” for their 2013 banger “Blurred Lines.” As a result the Gaye children were awarded $7.3 million.

According to the Associated Press, Nona Gaye, Marvin’s daughter, cried when the verdict was read and her attorney Richard Busch hugged her.

She said later, “Right now, I feel free. Free from Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke’s chains and what they tried to keep on us and the lies we were told.”

Meanwhile, an attorney for Williams and Thicke said the verdict could have a “chilling effect on musicians who try to emulate an era or another artist’s sound.”

Gaye’s lawyers argued that Williams and Thicke went beyond emulation and copied the song outright.

You may remember earlier in the trial, Thicke testified that though he is credited on the album, he did not write “Blurred Lines.” Williams later testified that he wrote the song in an hour back in 2012.

While Williams acknowledged that Gaye’s music was a part of the soundtrack of his childhood, he didn’t use any of it to create “Blurred Lines.”

Throughout the trial jurors heard testimony that detailed the analysis of chords and notes in “Blurred Lines” and “Got to Give It Up.”

An expert for the Gaye family said that there are eight distinct elements from “Got to Give It Up” that were also used in “Blurred Lines.” An expert for Williams and Thicke denied the claim.

When Marvin Gaye died in 1984, he left the copyright to his music to his children.

While this is the official verdict, appeals for this case could go on for years.

Pharrell’s Happy Books For Kids Coming Soon

February 18th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
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The universally-loved (and often-times loathed) song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams is getting new life in book form.

The singer, songwriter, producer, fashion designer, entrepreneur and Voice judge is adding author to his résumé, having inked a deal with Putnam Books to write a series of picture books for kids — beginning with one based on his global megahit, “Happy.”

“I’m humbled by the global success of ‘Happy,’ but especially in awe of the song’s young fans,” Williams said in a statement. “My collaboration with Penguin allows me to continue a dialogue with these children in a fresh, new way. We’re both committed to feeding the curiosity of young minds with imagination.”

The first book, also called Happy, will be published Sept. 22 and feature photographs of children from around the world “celebrating what it means to be happy,” Putnam said Tuesday.

“This is the beginning of an incredible partnership with one of America’s most talented and beloved stars,” added Don Weisberg, president of Penguin Young Readers. “Pharrell has an important and inspiring message about individuality and being your best self, and we’re proud to help him share that with young children.”

The publisher, which is a division of Penguin Young Readers, plans a first printing of 250,000 copies.

We’re sure it’ll be a runaway success.

Now The “Happy” Book Is Coming! 7 Business Ventures From Pharrell

February 17th, 2015 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Ever since Pharrell Williams’ Happy took over the airwaves, the upbeat song has been bestowing blessing after blessing for the multifaceted entertainer. This time, the chart-topping single brought Williams a picture book deal for the kids, ABC reports.

Happy, released in June 2013 as part of Despicable Me 2’s soundtrack, is 2014’s best-selling song. The Oscar-nominated feel-good single sold 6.4 million copies in 2014, went triple platinum, and reached the hearts of millions overseas, and landed Williams an interview with the legendary Oprah Winfrey.

You can’t quite put Pharrell in a box. He’s not just a performer, or just a rapper, or just a producer. He’s all of that and more. He’s been a shape-shifter in the music industry more almost two decades, but it was only recently that the worldwide spotlight propelled the Happy musician into super-fame.

But besides writing and producing one of the hottest singles of our time, Pharrell, worth $80 million, is quite the mastermind when it comes to entrepreneurship and business.

Let’s take a look at some of Pharrell’s most brilliant enterprises over the years.

[Watch] Pharrell’s Interesting “Happy” Performance: “As You Can See, I’m At Your Service, Lord”

February 8th, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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CBS

CBS

This evening, Pharrell Williams performed his 2014 smash hit, “Happy,” with an interesting twist. The 41-year-old stepped on stage dressed as a bellhop, singing a different rendition of the song before transitioning into the regular version. He’s eventually joined by Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang and composer Hans Zimmer. His performance also included a dancing choir. Williams concluded his performance and looking up before saying, “As you can see, I’m at your service, Lord.”

Check out his full performance below.


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Are You Even Excited To Watch? Major 2015 Oscar Snubs & Nominations

January 15th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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WENN

The Academy Awards is one of the biggest award shows of the year, and yet, this year’s list of nominees is not all that exciting. Could it be the highlighted films were so-so — or all the “snubbery” happening? Here’s a rundown of this year’s Oscar nominations and people they failed to recognize.

FYI — all of the acting nominees are White.

Surprised?

Winners & Snubs From The 2015 People’s Choice Awards

January 8th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Anthony Anderson

John Rasimus/Future Image/WENN.com

Did you tune in to see the 2015 People’s Choice Awards? Hosted by Mom stars Anna Faris and Allison Janney, the night honors some of the best entertainers in film, television and music. What makes this awards show unique are the voters — the people. Here’s a rundown of the night’s winners and those who should’ve won.

Pharrell Concerned About Mike Brown’s “Bully-ish” Ways

November 26th, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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WENN

WENN

Pharrell Williams appears on the cover of Ebony magazine this month. And while he touches on a variety of different topics, the discussion that stands out the most is his rather uncomfortable comments on Michael Brown Jr.’s life and death. When asked about his thoughts on surveillance footage of Brown stealing cigars from a convenient store minutes prior to his death, the producer questioned why Brown’s action’s weren’t being discussed.

“It looked very bully-ish; that in itself I had a problem with,” Williams explained. “Not with the kid, but with whatever happened in his life for him to arrive at a place where that behavior is OK. Why aren’t we talking about that?”

Now in the producer’s defense, this interview was conducted prior to Sunday’s verdict; however his comments still don’t really seem appropriate (at least not right now) considering that this child was murdered. Perhaps Brown’s behavior could be explored at a later date, but doing so as the world sat around praying and hoping that his killer is brought to justice doesn’t seem like the best time.

Later in the interview, he made it clear that regardless of his behavior, Michael Brown did not deserve to die, but this didn’t seem to make his prior question sting any less.

“I believe that Ferguson officer should be punished and serve time. He used excessive force on a human being who was merely a child. He was a baby, man. The boy was walking in the middle of the street when the police supposedly told him to ‘get the f–k on the sidewalk.’ If you don’t listen to that, after just having pushed a storeowner, you’re asking for trouble. But you’re not asking to be killed. Some of these youth feel hunted and preyed upon, and that’s why that officer needs to be punished.”

While discussing Ferguson, Williams also questioned President Barack Obama failing to find his way to the heartbroken city.

“Wow. I do not want to get myself in trouble, but I felt like the president should have gone down there. I think sending Attorney General Eric Holder was a kind gesture, but the president should have gone. He didn’t have to go and take a side; all he needed to do was show his presence and everybody would have straightened up. But he didn’t go.

I won’t fault him. He’s a man with a lot of weight on his shoulders, but I personally would have gone because being a ‘man of the people’ means you’re right there with them in it. Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. led by example.”

Check out Pharrell’s full interview here.