“I’m just into creating,” says Pharrell Williams, the hip-hop star who is also a master of understatement. Williams has won ten Grammy Awards, been nominated for an Academy Award (for his infectious 2014 song “Happy”), launched two international clothing brands (Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream), and designed a fine-jewelry collection for Louis Vuitton, called Blason, and a collection of chairs for France’s esteemed design shop Domeau & Pérès.
And the indefatigable polymath isn’t slowing down. He’s currently hard at work on a collaboration with Wiz Khalifa and he continues to keep the sneaker world abuzz with his upscale offerings from Adidas. Here he shares with Best Life the things that keep his creative muscles primed. And for more great life studies, here Designer Nate Berkus Reveals His Favorite Guilty Pleasures.
His Favorite Retreat
“Japan is my favorite. The Harajuku is, like, the illest area. We have a BBC Ice Cream store there too. The energy is great. I go four or five times a year and stay in Roppongi Hills. I love it there.”
“I’m a huge Carl Sagan fan. Pale Blue Dot is a great book, and Cosmos is an incredible series that came out on PBS when I was a baby, but I eventually got the DVD set. It’s genius material.”
“Cake, candy, ice cream. I like sweets.”
“I’ve done everything from key chains to gold Casio watches and diamonds with Jacob the Jeweler, but the Blason collection is different. The heraldry and monarchical stuff is inspired by early kings and queens of Europe. I collaborated with Cami Miceli, of Vuitton, under the tutelage of Marc Jacobs. It was fun.”
“The first album I ever purchased was A Tribe Called Quest’s People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. The song ‘Bonita Applebum’ changed my whole life. I couldn’t understand why I loved it so much, so I just had to study it.”
His Favorite Artist
“KAWS. He’s a street artist who has probably done 85 percent of the artwork in my home in Miami–like giant canvases. I have him up against my Keith Harings. He’s super-talented.”
Ed Note: A version of this story appeared in the September 2008 issue of Best Life.