OnlyOnAOL: Pharrell's take on fame will blow your mind

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Pharrell On "The Voice"
BY DONNA FREYDKIN

If understatement was the word of the day, you could call Pharrell famous.

In reality, he's a musical trailblazer, a fashion icon (deemed so by none other than the CFDA), a genius who melds and create melodies -- often in the shower. The singer, designer, producer and musician is the recipient of 11 Grammys. He's got his hands in clothing, owning Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream apparel, plus working with the eco-line Bionic Yarn. He's worked with everyone from Beyonce to Usher to Frank Ocean. And he wrote that little ditty you might have heard, called "Happy."

And yet in person, Pharrell is the opposite of most of his peers. There's no entourage. No attitude. When you ask him how he's doing, he asks about you -- and waits for an answer.

The reason for his laid-back attitude? "First of all, I have voicemail syndrome. It's something I coined," he says.

Meaning, he can't stand hearing himself. Or watching himself when he coaches aspiring vocalists on NBC's "The Voice," which airs Mondays and Tuesdays.

"You sound weird. You've seen yourself on video? You like that? You cringed, didn't you? That's what happens to me when I see myself on television. I don't watch 'The Voice,'" he says.

Being famous, and reveling in it, wasn't for him, he decided. "So many people are good at it. When I tried to do that ten years ago, it was like a nightmare. I would look up and you get the hits, you would get the attention. But I was afraid of that and I still am. It scares me. I wasn't really into that as much as I thought I wanted that," he says.

First and foremost, he sees himself as a producer. And he likens his life to living in a sock, and says he was familiar with only one side of it. Now, "The Voice" aside, he's the dad of Rocket Ayer Williams, with wife Helen Lasichanh, and focuses on his work inside the studio. The rest -- not his style.

"I spent 40-something years mastering what that sock looked like from the outside," he says, adding that his discomfort with being the center of attention remains palpable.

But mostly, the reason for who he is goes back to point one: "That's the key to my humility: I have voicemail syndrome."

Besides, adds Pharrell, "I'm such a goof."

You could have fooled us.

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Pharrell Williams and his hats
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OnlyOnAOL: Pharrell's take on fame will blow your mind
Pharrell Williams performs at the 57th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Left to right, Pharrell Williams, Jamie Foxx, Maya Rudolph and LL Cool J sing together onstage during the finale of "Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life - An All-Star Grammy Salute," at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Pharrell Williams arrives at the 57th annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Pharrell Williams performs at Levi’s® x Snoop Dogg + Friends Pre-Grammy Party held at the Hollywood Palladium on Thursday, Feb 5, 2015, in Hollywood. (Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision for Levi's/AP Images)
In this image released by Starpix, Pharrell Williams arrives at the Z100's Jingle Ball 2014 at Madison Square Garden, Friday, Dec. 12, 2014 in New York. (AP Photo/Starpix, Aurora Rose)
Pharrell Williams arrives at "The Voice" Red Carpet Event on Monday, Dec. 08, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Pharrell Williams performs at the KIIS FM's Jingle Ball at the Staples Center on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Pharrell Williams attends the ceremony honoring him with a Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame on Thursday, Dec. 04, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Pharrell Williams poses on his new star at the ceremony honoring him on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Thursday, Dec., 04, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Pharrell Williams performs on stage at CBS Radio's second annual We Can Survive concert at the Hollywood Bowl on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Invision/AP)
Citi ThankYou cardmember preshow experience with Pharrell at CBS Radio's We Can Survive at the Hollywood Bowl on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Invision/AP)
Pharrell Williams arrives for the GQ Men Of The Year Awards 2014 at a central London venue, London, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. (Photo by Jonathan Short/Invision/AP)
Pharrell Williams performs at the Kids' Choice Sports Awards at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion on Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Pharrell Williams performs on the main stage at Wireless festival in Finsbury Park, north London, Friday, July 4, 2014. The first festival took place in June 2005 and was staged in Hyde Park. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
Pharrell Williams arrives for the Serpentine Gallery Summer Party in Hyde Park, central London, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
Pharrell Williams performs in the rain on NBC's "Today" show on Thursday, June 5, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
US singer Pharrell Williams poses during a press conference for the exhibition "GIRL" at the Perrotin Gallery in Paris, Monday, May 26, 2014. Williams curates an exhibition encompassing around 40 art pieces, presenting their visions of femininity, muses, female creativity and freedom. The show opens on May 27 and runs through June 27, 2014. The piece behind Williams is "GIRL" by French artist Guy Limone. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Pharrell Williams performs at the Sprint Sound Sessions event at Webster Hall on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Donald Traill/Invision/AP)
Pharrell Williams performs at the 2014 Coachella Music and Arts Festival on Saturday, April 19, 2014, in Indio, Calif. (Photo by Zach Cordner/Invision/AP)
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