Pharrell Williams has admitted the controversy surrounding his and Robin Thicke's track Blurred Lines made him realise some of his songs "catered" to a sexist culture.
The 46-year-old singer-songwriter has said he would "never write or sing" some of his old material today and says the 2013 track, which was criticised by many who claimed the lyrics referred to non-consensual sex, "opened me up".
In a candid interview with GQ, Williams said: "Some of my old songs, I would never write or sing today. I get embarrassed by some of that stuff. It just took a lot of time and growth to get to that place. I think Blurred Lines opened me up".
"I didn’t get it at first", he said, discussing the criticism of the 2013 song. "There were older white women who, when that song came on, they would behave in some of the most surprising ways ever. And I would be like, wow – they would have me blushing".
"So", he adds, "when there started to be an issue with it, lyrically, I was, like, ‘What are you talking about? There are women who really like the song and connect to the energy that just gets you up’. And ‘I know you want it’ – women sing those kinds of lyrics all the time. So it’s like, ‘What’s rapey about that?'"
He continued: "Then I realised that there are men who use that same language when taking advantage of a woman, and it doesn’t matter that that’s not my behaviour.
"Or the way I think about things. It just matters how it affects women. And I was like, ‘Got it. I get it. Cool’. My mind opened up to what was actually being said in the song and how it could make someone feel. Even though it wasn’t the majority, it didn’t matter".
"I cared what they were feeling too", he continues. "I realised that we live in a chauvinist culture in our country. Hadn’t realised that. Didn’t realise that some of my songs catered to that. So that blew my mind".
Pharrell went on to say that his hit track, Happy, was something of a turning point in his approach to lyrics.