It was announced last week that Pharrell Williams will perform his Despicable Me 2 hit “Happy” at this year’s Academy Awards on ABC on March 2nd. We have no doubt that it will serve as a fantastic footnote for what has been the song’s long journey to success, given that it was first released to help promote the film back in June of last year. Now serving as the first single to come from his new deal with Columbia Records, the track was first pushed by Universal Pictures’ soundtrack label, Back Lot Music.
Although it’s hard to pinpoint specific reasons as to why promotion for this single was initially slow, it is valuable to spotlight its growing notoriety, because it’s a perfect example of how some songs released in today’s fast paced and fragmented industry, can get released and be circulating amongst radio stations and tastemakers to little fanfare, until something big happens to tip the scales of audience critical mass. Then a domino effect happens or is often more likely to happen.
For Pharrell that scale tipping seemed to have occurred when he recently won 4 of the 7 Grammys he was nominated for at the 56th annual Grammy Awards, and literally became “Producer Of The Year”. We point this out because the song was rereleased by Columbia in November, and endured the majority of the holiday season with little promo. Remember, “Happy” was first released by Universal Pictures on June 18th. The official music video didn’t even hit the web until November 21st, placing it amongst a series of holiday songs released at a time when radio programmers are busy dreaming of a “White Christmas “. Then, by the time the Grammys rolled around, the music biz was finished with their eggnog, and thanks to the likes of Daft Punk and Robin Thicke, Pharrell was the hottest thing out. Music fans and programmers wanted to do their part to keep that party going following the academy’s declaration. Their answer in doing so was, turn the volume up on “Happy,” and let it to its thing.
Perhaps the moral of the story is, keep trying with patience and perspective, while maintaining a genuine love for what you’re doing. Pharrell recently discussed the value of that approach with hip hop vet Snoop Dogg on his web-based interview show GGN. In the episode entitled, “Pharrell and Snoop Drop It Like It’s Happy”, the two share a lot of laughs, give their thoughts on what they think good music is, and provide some insight on what has kept them relevant in the music business since the 90s. It is truly entertaining to watch, and provides the pleasant surprise of some quality music geekery. It shows that the secret of “Happy’s” is derived from him being smart, experienced, accomplished, and ultimately, Happy. Check out the video below We’re betting you’ll probably see what we mean. Enjoy!
“Pharrell and Snoop Drop It Like It’s Happy” (Explicit Content)