Music

Red-hot hitmaker Pharrell Williams admits to 'kinda nerdy' beginnings

Aug. 29, 2013 at 9:00 AM ET

Even if Pharrell Williams isn't a household name where you live, the music he's had a hand in creating most likely is. He's featured in this this year's song of summer, "Blurred Lines," and he's co-collaborated on songs such as Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl," and Snoop Dogg's "Drop it like it's Hot." 

Sixteen Grammy nominations (and three wins) later, the music producer-song writer-recording artist sat down with TODAY's Savannah Guthrie to talk about the path to getting to top of the Top 40. 

"I can write pretty much anywhere, but in the shower it's, like, where it's, like, really great," Williams told Guthrie of where he's come up with some of his best work, including "Hot in Herre" Nelly's super-successful 1992 hit. 

But before he was sharing top billing with the likes of Nelly, Justin Timberlake and Ludacris, he was any other kid growing up in Virginia Beach, playing the drums and going to band camp. "Most of us were kinda nerdy," Williams said. "Nobody sort of walked in, like, you know, Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl-cool."  

It was at that camp where Williams, then 12, met his producing partner Chad Hugo. By the time they were 19, the duo had helped write and produce the 1992 Wreckx-N-Effect hit song, "Rump Shaker." 

Fast forward two decades and many successes, Williams says he can point to the singular best song he's ever co-written. "My son," he told Guthrie of "Rocket," his little boy with new fiance Helen Lasichanh. "Every night's like a sleepover," he said of Lasichanh, who he calls his "bestie."

So what else does the super-successful Williams hope to accomplish? "Honestly? It's ... more music," he said.

That said, music isn't the only thing on the artist's plate: Beginning Nov. 5, Williams will appear as a mentor on Rihanna's new fashion reality competition show "Styled to Rock" on the Style Network.

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