Pharrell Williams Blurs Lines With Daylong Music Video

Originally published on December 6, 2013 11:57 am



And we end this hour with a very different kind of ecstatic voice.


PHARRELL WILLIAMS: (Singing) Because I'm happy, clap along if you feel like a room without a roof. Because I'm happy, clap along...

SIEGEL: This is the song "Happy" from Pharrell Williams. He sings. He writes. He produces. Williams is also the creative force behind an ambitious new music video, though calling it just a video hardly does it justice.


That's because this video for "Happy" is 24 hours long. It hit the Web two weeks ago at the site It looks like an ordinary music video. There's lip-syncing to the song and someone dancing through the streets of Los Angeles. But here's where the ambition comes in. The song ends...

SIEGEL: But the video doesn't. The song starts over. The video picks up in the same location with a new happy dancer. The hand-off happens over and over again through the course of an entire day. The song plays 15 times per hour. Multiply that by 24 and you get a lot of happiness.

BLOCK: And a lot of work to put together.

MIMI VALDES: It was crazy and awesome at the same time.


BLOCK: That's Mimi Valdes. She's the creative director for Pharrell Williams' entertainment company. She was on-set every day for the 11-day shoot. She says the video involved over 400 extras. Many of the dancers they cast ahead of time, some they didn't.

VALDES: When we were filming in the streets of LA, sometimes we'd see really amazing, cool people that just seemed like, you know, they would fit in and - or people just watching. We were like, hey, do you want to join? And, of course, people, sort of jumped at the chance.

SIEGEL: While it's a catchy song, we had to ask Valdes: During the shoot, did you ever get tired of hearing it?

VALDES: I promise you, no. It was the weirdest thing. And I swore I was going to get sick of it, and I really didn't because every time it played, it felt like a new experience.

SIEGEL: And so it is with the finished product. You can browse and - if you don't like one dance number - you can skip to the next, 24 hours of happy to choose from.


WILLIAMS: (Singing) If you feel like a room without a roof. Because I'm happy, clap along if you feel...

BLOCK: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.