Behind every great artist is an even greater producer. However, Pharrell Williams is a special case, playing both roles at the same time, being both an acclaimed artist and one of the most influential producers of this century.
Throughout his career, Pharrell has been active in a lot of fields, such as music production, singing, fashion design and even the world of entrepreneurship.
What is Pharrell Williams net worth?
The famous recording artist, musician, producer, and fashion designer, Pharrell Williams has a net worth of $250 million at the time this article is written. He started producing in the early 90s with his longtime friend, Chad Hugo.
Pharrell Williams career earnings by year
- 2007: $17 million
- 2008: $20 million
- 2009: $16 million
- 2010: $13 million
- 2011: $10 million
- 2012: $7 million
- 2013: $9 million
- 2014: $22 million
- 2015: $32 million
- 2016: $20 million
- 2017: $20 million
- 2018: $18 million
- 2019: $25 million
- Total: $229 million
Childhood and teenage years
Pharrell Lanscilo Williams, known as Pharrell Williams, Pharrell, or Skateboard P, was born on April 5, 1973, in the city of Virginia Beach in the United States of America.
Pharrell is the eldest of three children of Carolyn and Pharoah Williams. At his hometown school, Pharrell befriends Charles “Chad” Hugo in seventh grade during a summer camp for school music enthusiasts. Hugo played sax while Williams played drums. The two’s friendship continued in later years as they attended Princess Anne High School together and were part of the high school band together.
“Being a drummer is megamacho (…) I’m constantly pushing myself. I got that from band camp. We were pushed on a military level,” Pharrell explained to People magazine.
Pharrell graduated from high school in 1991 and attended the prestigious Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. However, he only studied here for two years, eventually dropping out of higher education to pursue his career in music.
During their senior year of high school, Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo, Timbaland, and Magoo formed a hip-hop group called “Surrounded by Idiots”, which broke up before they released a single.
Even though “Surrounded by Idiots” failed, Pharrell’s path in music would not suffer. On the contrary, this failure may have helped Williams reach the highest heights and collaborate with some of the most popular and acclaimed artists of the past few decades.
In high school, Pharrell and his friend Hugo spent most of their time together, experimenting with music production and learning various techniques and secrets. Around the 11th grade, the two formed a duo called “The Neptunes”. It wasn’t long before they were discovered at a school talent show by a scout of music producer Teddy Riley.
Teddy Riley, who had previously collaborated with artists such as MC Hammer, Michael Jackson, and BLACKstreet, had a studio near the high school Hugo and Williams attended. To see what potential they had, Riley let the two produce and record a few tracks in the studio.
In 1992, Pharrell and Chad wrote Riley’s verse on the rap group Wreckx-N-Effect’s song “Rump Shaker”. Two years later, the two produced the song “Tonight’s the Night” for R&B band BLACKstreet. Also, under the name “The Neptunes”, the two produced Noreaga’s hit “Superthug” in 1998.
Soon after, “The Neptunes” began working with the duo Clipse, consisting of rappers Pusha-T and Malice, and worked extensively on the duo’s unreleased album “Exclusive Audio Footage”.
The Neptunes work
Over the years, Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo have written and produced a lot of tracks since 2000: the single “Shake Ya Ass” for Mystikal (2000), Jay-Z’s single “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)” but also the well-known hit “Hot in Here” by Nelly.
Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo, and Shay Haley formed the band N.E.R.D (an acronym for No-one Ever Really Dies), a project on which the duo of The Neptunes worked in parallel. The first album released by N.E.R.D., entitled “In Search Of…” appeared in 2001 and sold no less than 600,000 copies in the United States of America.
Also in 2001, The Neptunes produced several songs from Babyface’s album “Face2Face”, to the tracks “I’m a Slave 4 U” and “Boys” from Britney Spears‘ third album, Britney.
The following year, the Clipse duo released their debut album, Lord Willin’, which was produced entirely by The Neptunes. Williams and Hugo also produced songs for Justin Timberlake’s Justified album.
In 2003, Pharrell produced the song “I’m Loving It” for Justin Timberlake, a song released by McDonald’s to popularize the now unmistakable jingle. It’s ironic that Pharrell Williams worked for the fast-food chain 3 times during his high school years, but was fired each time for not being very helpful.
The Grammy Award and success
According to an August 2003 study cited in The Age newspaper, almost 20% of songs on British radio stations were produced by Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo.
The work and effort of the two artists were crowned in 2004 when Pharrell and Chad received the Grammy Award in the Producer of the Year section. But their adventure was far from over – in the same year the two produced Snoop Dogg‘s famous song “Drop It Like It’s Hot”, a song for which Pharrell also appeared as a singer. Also in 2004, Pharrell, Chad, and Shay released N.E.R.D.’s second project – “Fly or Die”.
At the time it was rumored that working with The Neptunes required the artist to prepare six-figure sums, but this did not affect Williams and Hugo at all, on the contrary, the musicians were willing to offer large sums due to the quality production and lyrics that the duo offered.
Pharrell Williams released his first solo album in 2006, entitled “In My Mind”. It debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200.
Pharrell worked with Madonna in 2008 for the album “Hard Candy”, but also with Maroon 5 for the remix album – “Call and Response: The Remix Album”.
In 2014, the artist released his second solo album, “Girl”, and lost the Oscar for the song “Happy” in the category “Best Original Song” to the song “Let It Go” from the animated film “Frozen”.
In 2005, Pharrell Williams teamed up with Nigo, a good friend of his and the founder of Bape, to create the streetwear brand Billionaire Boys Club, whose t-shirts, caps, hoodies, and shoes have been highly successful over the years. At the same time, Pharrell and Nigo founded Ice Cream, the “sister” brand of Billionaire Boys Club.
Pharrell Williams has secured his role as a trendsetter and influencer in the world of fashion and streetwear since the spring of 2008 when he launched a series of accessories and jewelry with the famous fashion house Louis Vuitton. Along with L.V.’s creative director Marc Jacobs, Pharrell created, among other things, the “Millionaire” sunglasses, which were relaunched by Virgil Abloh in his first collection for the French fashion house.
Williams also collaborated with Moncler for a fashion capsule in 2010, a collection known for its double-sided vest, one similar to a bulletproof vest. The pieces were made from materials produced by Bionic Yarn, a company that produces materials from recycled waste.
In March 2014, Pharrell Williams and Adidas signed one of the most important partnerships in the history of streetwear and the German manufacturer. With the introduction of Boost technology by Adidas, Pharrell had his own silhouette – the NMD Human Race, as well as his own clothing line at Adidas – the Human Race, often abbreviated to ‘Hu’.
Also in 2014, Pharrell collaborated with the Japanese brand Uniqlo for the “I am OTHER” collection, the pieces being made together with Nigo.
In 2010, Williams worked with composers Hans Zimmer and Heitor Pereira on the soundtrack of the animated film “Despicable Me” and released N.E.R.D’s fourth album – “Nothing”.
The musician, producer, and designer Pharrell Williams was appointed, in February 2023, to the general surprise, the new artistic director of Vuitton Homme, after the death of Virgil Abloh in November 2021.
Pharrell Williams is also known for his anti-discrimination projects, such as Yellow, an NGO that tries to provide equal opportunities to all young people through education.
In 2020, he launched Black Ambition, an initiative that provides a path to success for underprivileged entrepreneurs launching start-ups in technology, healthcare, and consumer services.
Pharrell Williams purchased a 9,000-square-foot waterfront home in Virginia Beach, Virginia for $1.85 million in 2001.
He sold his penthouse apartment in Miami Beach in 2007 for $8.5 million. The same year, he bought a triplex penthouse, in Miami as well, for $12.5 million. Though, Pharrell listed this house on sale in 2012 for $17 million but sold it in 2015 for $9.35 million.
In 2015, the musician paid $15.6 million for a 17,000-square-foot home in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles. In March 2020 he listed this house for sale for $17 million.
Pharrell bought a 17,000-square-foot house in Coral Gables, Florida in April 2020 for $30 million. This mansion was previously listed for $45 million.
In 2013, Pharrell Williams married his girlfriend, Helen Lasichanh, with whom he had a relationship for more than 10 years and with whom he has a little boy, Rocket Williams, born in November 2008.
The singer and his wife became parents of triplets in January 2017.