Pharrell On 'Blurred Lines' Accusations: 'You Can’t Copyright A Feeling'

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 04: Pharrell Williams performs onstage during Soundcheck: A Netflix Film and Series Music Showcase on November 04, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

Pharrell On 'Blurred Lines' Accusations: 'You Can’t Copyright A Feeling'

“I would never take anything from anyone.”

Published November 5, 2019

Written by Alexis Reese

In a recent interview with GQ, rapper-producer Pharrell Williams spoke with producer Rick Rubin on his “Blurred Lines” lawsuit.

  1. Reflecting on the 2013 mega-single and 2018 court battle, the estate for Marvin Gaye held that “Blurred Lines” was a stolen rendition of the soul singer’s 1977 track “Got to Give It Up.”

    According to GQ, the final verdict stated that there was a breach of copyright and $5 million was to be awarded to Gaye’s estate, paid by Thicke and Williams. Looking back on the incident, Pharrell now states that it “hurt [his] feelings, because [he] would never take anything from anyone,” and that “it really set [him] back.”

  2. Williams detailed his behind-the-scenes production process when it comes to creating any hits with his Neptunes production partner, Chad Hugo. Though Hugo did not work on “Blurred Lines,” he said that the duo generally “reverse-engineer the songs that do something to us emotionally and … figure out if we can build a building that doesn’t look the same but makes you feel the same way.” Pharrell later added, “I did that in ‘Blurred Lines’ and got myself in trouble.” 

    While continuing his conversation with Rubin, he notes that Stevie Wonder also told him to get the correct musicologist ,because juries would not understand the technicalities of what he created. “The song is nothing like the song,” said Rubin. “Nope, but the feeling was,”  Pharrell responded. “Yeah, but the feeling isn’t something you can copyright,” Rubin continues. “No, you can’t copyright a feeling,” Williams says.

  3. Moving onward from the legalities of “Blurred Lines,” the artist has recently co-produced Beck’s upcoming LP, Hyperspace, among other projects. This also includes the track “Letter to My Godfather” on Netflix’s original film The Black Godfather, which pays homage to the legendary music executive Clarence Avant.

    Watch the GQ video in full below

(Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)


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