Pharrell’s 20-minute greatest hits session at the NBA All Star Game this past Sunday (Feb. 16) was just a precursor to the type of year he’s got in the works. The producer will release his sophomore solo album, G I R L, on March 3, and he’s got several more celebratory performances planned over the next two weeks.
The album is his first for his new label home, Columbia Records (where Destiny’s Child, Nas and the like have built their catalogues), and he said making it is a dream realized. “When Columbia Records presented me with the opportunity to make an album, three things came to mind,” Pharrell explained via press release. “One was the sense of overwhelming honor that I felt when I realized that they were interested in partnering with me on the album that I had always dreamt of making. Two, it would have to feel festive and urgent. And three, I instantly knew it would be called, ‘G I R L.'”
“Festive and urgent” is precisely how his first single sounds. “Happy,” an international phenomenon, has already earned an Oscar nomination (the song was included on the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack) and it has topped the charts in more than 175 countries. Pharrell is set perform the hit this week at the BRIT Awards in London, and he’ll make stops in Germany and France later this month.
Stateside, Pharrell will perform “Happy” at the Academy Awards March 2. It’s the highest-Billboard-charting single to earn an Oscar nod in more than ten years.