Producer Pharrell Williams testified Wednesday that he may have been channeling the “feel” of Marvin Gaye and the late 70s, but he did not specifically discuss or have the late musician in mind when he wrote the hit 2013 song “Blurred Lines."
Williams took the stand in a copyright infringement trial that pits him, singer Robin Thicke and rapper T.I. against Gaye’s children, who claim the song was a ripoff of Gaye’s 1977 “Got to Give It Up."
“Feel, but not infringement,” Williams said when asked whether he recognized similarities between the songs. “I must’ve been channeling that feeling, that late-70s feeling.”
Williams acknowledged that he told journalists during media interviews about “Blurred Lines” that he was “trying to pretend” he was Gaye, but he said it was because he realized only in hindsight that he had composed the song in a style similar to the late musician. He said he grew up listening to Gaye’s music, and felt uncomfortable to be facing the allegation that he stole from Gaye.
“I respect his music beyond words,” he said.
Williams, like Thicke in his testimony last week, disputed the account Thicke repeatedly gave during press interviews that the pair wrote the song together after Thicke suggested they create something similar to “Got to Give It Up.” The song was mostly written by the time Thicke arrived at the Burbank studio where it was recorded, Williams said.
“Once you have a groove, then you’re pretty much allowing the groove to tell you what’s next,” he said, describing his writing process, which he said took less than an hour. “The feeling of the melody tells you what you should be talking about.”
Thicke testified last week that he lied in media interviews, and that he was drunk and high and trying to take credit for writing the song.
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