GQ recently had the opportunity to sit down with Pharrell Williams to discuss a bevy of topics. From his role as music consultant at the Academy Awards alongside personal hero Hans Zimmer to his Billionaire Boys Club spinoff for women, everything reads like an open book. The entire conversation with Pharrell Williams can be read at GQ while choice excerpts appear below.
GQ: You and Hans Zimmer are the music consultants for the Oscars. What does that job entail?
Pharrell: We have to reinterpret some of the music for the nominees. We have to do other music as well that is at times new and original and at others borrowing from movie scenes.
GQ: The Academy producers could have hired some stiffs for this, but they picked you two for some much-needed variety. What will you guys do to put your stamp on it?
Pharrell: Well I can’t give but so much away. Because Hans and I have tried to keep it under wraps so that there’s literally no expectation and people are excited about the stuff we’re cooking. We’re thinking beyond the usual standards.
GQ: You worked with Hans on 2010′s Despicable Me. He’s a huge deal in the film and music world. What’s it like to hang and work with him again?
Pharrell: It’s an honor for me because I get to be mentored, creative, and credited for learning under the auspices of somebody like him. I’m always honored when he takes my direction and to have direction come from him. It’s really been this interesting collaborative thing. But for me, secretly, it’s still like school and I love it.
GQ: On Rick Ross’ Rich Forever mixtape you rap, “Black boy scoring his life/ I’m scoring the Oscars.” How excited are you for this opportunity—especially since you’re still essentially a music nerd from Virginia who made it big.
Pharrell: I’m just very thankful. And I say that a lot because that’s the most important message. I answer questions the best I can. But most of the answers usually feel the same. And that’s just me being very appreciative of the opportunity, because, like you said, I’m from Virginia Beach, VA. I’m glad that I can exhibit what we can do.
GQ: Academy rules won’t allow you to say what your current favorites are, but what are some of your choice Hans Zimmer-scored movies? He’s done plenty and won an Oscar for The Lion King.
Pharrell: The Dark Knight music was genius! I mean, Gladiator was great. Pirates [of the Caribbean] was great. But Dark Knight? That was, like, a whole different level of…