Pharrell Confirms "Doctor (Work It Out)" With Miley Cyrus Was 12 Years in the Making

In a conversation with Zane Lowe and special guest Miley Cyrus.

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In a new interview with Apple Music‘s Zane Lowe, Pharrell discussed the makings of the song “Doctor (Work It Out)” with Miley Cyrus. Initially rumored to have been a project that began in the past decade, Pharrell has now confirmed that the song has been in progress since 2012. Around that time, P had been working with Cyrus on a few songs for her BANGERZ album and that at the time, they both felt that it was not the time to release the track.

Lowe asked Pharrell why they decided to hold back at the time and wait more than a decade later to release the track. Pharrell shared, “This is not the first time it has happened.” He discusses that throughout the course of his career, he has had moments where he had produced tracks for a certain artist and it later landed on another artist’s radar either in the same or different genre. But with Miley Cyrus, he said, “We knew it just wasnt’ the time for it…but this was absolutely 12 years ago.” Pharrell also shared that at the time that he met Cyrus, she was known for the hit “Party in the USA,” and fresh off of Hannah Montana. He recalls meeting her and realizing that she had more her than what has been portrayed in the media, calling her a force who can sing a song like “Party in the USA” yet also “sound like Stevie Nicks.”

Cyrus later hopped onto the call and spoke about when she first met P, “He was really the only one that I could kind of tell him what I really wanted, what I really wanted to make, who I really wanted to be, what I really wanted to do. I think Pharrell was perfect because it was almost like he could be a bumper for me, but he wasn’t going to be a bridle.” She also shared that P was one of the people who encouraged her drastic platinum dye hair cut in 2012, “I was like, ‘Pharrell, I really want to change. I really want to have a big change…’And he was like, ‘Go for it today, tomorrow, as soon as you can. That sounds like exactly the perfect thing to do.’” Pharrell chimed in and said, “I’ll never forget just meeting her at a time where people had pegged her to be one thing particularly. She was Hannah Montana at the time, and she was growing up and really wanting to experience life no matter how far the precipice was, that was her…I just remember her just being in a place where no one really understood what she was, and I got it.”

As for the timing of the song, Cyrus explained to Lowe, “We just believe so much in timing and in everything happening when it’s supposed to. Around the Grammys, Pharrell and I were talking about putting the song out, and it just felt like it was so serendipitous, and there were so many alignments and so many moments that made me know that now was the perfect time.” She added, “And then sometimes things in our past make more sense in our present than they ever did then. And so this song, I think the nature, the celebration, the feeling, especially with the video, the joy, the dancing, the letting go, it’s what this song really always needed. I don’t think I could have delivered that at that time [in 2013]…It completely embodies my spirit and my essence at this exact moment.”

Watch the full conversation above.

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