Last Friday, music and style innovator Pharrell Williams performed at the Brooklyn House of Vans in front of an intimate crowd as part of his new partnership with HTC. Recently announced as the brand ambassador for the HTC One phone—which features two front forward-facing speakers for those who put music first—Pharrell's pairing with the mobile company seems idyllic. It's a phone HTC says is "everything your phone isn't." We recently spoke with the Virginia native about his new partnership, the future of music, and what's next.
Complex: Why did becoming a brand ambassador for HTC feel like a logical move for you?
Pharrell: Well, I felt like their approach was very interesting. I felt like what really got my attention was HTC’s interest in our demographic, you know, and their approach is so cool. Who just decides they're going to dedicate a concert to their sound?
HTC just has such a different approach. They’re getting the ears of my demographic, the people whose talent resonates with me. Our demographic is starting to listen.
You mentioned their approach was cool. What does ‘cool’ mean for you?
It feels more personal, it’s not totally in your face, it’s direct to the fans. To me, that’s the best when you feel like you can see through the company when they’re doing these things. It’s what you see that keeps your attention, and makes you want to work with them as a fan. When a company is sneaking something up on you, the approach just feels disingenuous, and you watch these kids just walk away, and I felt like, here, they get the fans. I’m in to them.
So the one-on-one experience is what drew you to it?
Yeah, that’s the thing. I just felt like it was cool on a marketing level they would approach things the same way.
HTC’s new phone, the HTC One, comes with front facing speakers called Boom Sound, and is geared for music lovers. Could you tell us more about your experience with it?
The Boom Sound was like one of the craziest orientations I have ever gotten in my life. I was like ‘whoa’, you think you heard that sound before, and then you hear that sound, you know, totally cranked up, you feel the vibrating in your hands. It’s crazy.
You have your hands in a lot of different pots, what are you doing outside of music to bring art to your audiences?
The funny thing is, HTC is actually teaming up with us to celebrate BBC’s (Billionaire Boy’s Club)—which is my fashion brand—tenth year anniversary celebration, so it’s going to be a crazy celebration. Ten years of us really concentrating on the design and me collaborating with all the crazy designers that I have, and some of our guest designers as well, it’s going to be really cool.