“Happy” is the fifth song by Pharrell Williams from the album G I R L and the fourth track from the album Despicable Me 2. Its length is 3:54.


Williams provided vocals for French duo Daft Punk's 2013 album Random Access Memories, on the songs "Lose Yourself to Dance" and "Get Lucky". After returning from the recording sessions in Paris, he attended a meeting with record label managers who said that the results were "spectacular" and that "Get Lucky" would be Daft Punk's next single. They also made Williams an offer to record his own album, to which he agreed quickly, "overwhelmed that someone wanted to know what's in my heart."[1]

On December 17, 2013, it was announced that Williams had signed to Columbia Records and would release his second studio album in 2014.[2] In a December 2013 press release, Rob Stringer, Chairman of Columbia Records, said "When we excitedly partnered with Pharrell in January of this year, we felt it was his time again. Since then, 'Blurred Lines' and 'Get Lucky' have defined pop music in 2013, and now we are preparing to launch Pharrell as a global solo superstar in 2014. 'Happy' is just the beginning."[2]

Williams originally wrote the song for CeeLo Green and felt Green's recording of the song was better, but Elektra Records, Green's record label, decided against it since he was on the verge of releasing his Christmas album, Cee Lo's Magic Moment.[3]


"Happy" was written and produced by Williams, with backing vocals by Rhiea Dummett, Trevon Henderson, Ashley L. Lee, Shamika Hightower, Jasmine Murray and Terrence Rolle.[4] The track was digitally edited and arranged by Andrew Coleman and Mike Larson, who also recorded it with assistance from Matthew Desrameaux at Circle House Studios in Miami, Florida. The song was later mixed by Leslie Brathwaite at Music Box Studios in Atlanta, Georgia.[4]

"Happy" plays for 3 minutes and 53 seconds[5] in common time and at a tempo of 160 beats per minute.[6][7] The song is in the key of F minor. Williams sings the upper notes in falsetto; his vocal range spans from F4 to C6.[7] His singing on the track has been compared to that of Curtis Mayfield.[8][9]

According to music journalist Paul Tingen, "Happy" is "a mid-tempo soul song in a faux-Motown style, with an arrangement that is, by modern standards, very sparse: programmed drums, one bass and one keyboard part, and handclaps both programmed and played, all topped off by Williams's lead vocals and a whole posse of backing vocals".[10] Jody Rosen viewed the song as a "standout" with a "sprightly neosoul funk groove".[8]

Credits and personnelEdit

  • Recorded at Circle House Studios, Miami, Florida
  • Mixed at Music Box Studios, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Pharrell Williams – lead vocals, keyboards, drums, writing, production
  • Rhea Dummett – backing vocals
  • Trevon Henderson – backing vocals
  • Ashley L. Lee – backing vocals
  • Shamika Hightower – backing vocals
  • Jasmine Murray – backing vocals
  • Terrence Rolle – backing vocals
  • Mike Larson – recording, digital editing, arrangement
  • Matthew Desrameaux – recording assistant
  • Andrew Coleman – digital editing, arrangement
  • Leslie Brathwaite – mixer
  • Amir Windom – A&R
  • Reuben Cohen – mastering


  1. Batey, Angus (February 21, 2014). "We Heard Pharrell's New Album & This Is What It Sounds Like". NME. IPC Media. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Pharrell Williams Signs To Columbia Records". Vibe. December 17, 2013. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
  3. Showbiz, Bang (May 1, 2014). "Pharrell Williams – Pharrell Williams: Happy was for Cee Lo Green". Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Pharrell Williams – Happy – The World's First 24 Hour Music Video". Retrieved March 20, 2014.
  5. "Happy (From "Despicable Me 2") - Single by Pharrell Williams". iTunes US. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  6. "Pharrell Williams – Happy – 160 BPM". Run Hundred. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "'Happy' By Pharrell Williams – Digital Sheet Music". EMI Music Publishing. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Rosen, Jody (June 7, 2013). "Pharrell – Happy". Rolling Stone (Jann Wenner). Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  9. Wood, Mikael (February 20, 2014). "Pharrell Williams, a 'Happy' and busy guy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  10. Tingen, Paul (May 2014). "Inside Track: Happy". Sound on Sound (Cambridge). Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Despicable Me 2: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Media notes). Back Lot Music, Columbia Records. 2013.
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