THR Names Music's 35 Top Hitmakers
This story first appeared in the Feb. 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Over the past year, you could hear Williams’ idiosyncratic touch in releases from Rick Ross, Wiz Khalifa, T.I., Usher and R&B breakout Frank Ocean, who scored six Grammy nominations for his solo debut, Channel Orange. “I wanted to know what a singer was doing with the Odd Future [hip-hop collective]. It had to be interesting,” says the sometimes N.E.R.D. frontman, and one-half of the producing duo The Neptunes.
Curiosity has always fuelled Williams’ pursuits, which has more recently led him to Hollywood: writing music for the animated movie Despicable Me 2 and sitting in with veteran composer Hans Zimmer as he scores Superman: Man of Steel. (“He is the king,” Williams says reverentially, of the nine-time Oscar nominee.) Somehow Williams has managed to shoehorn these projects around his day job.
In addition to producing tracks for upcoming releases from Nelly, Jay-Z, B, and her sister Solange Knowles, he’s also been collaborating with Miley Cyrus to mold the sound of her fourth solo album, which he describes as “having hip hop at the heart of it… but she’s [still] a Tennessee girl.” Like, is there anyone he wouldn’t work with? “Yeah, for sure! But it wouldn’t be so becoming for me to go here,” he says, laughing. “I see things in people that sometimes other people don’t get. But I do say ‘No’ more than I say, ‘Yes.’”Click here to read THR's complete Pop's Top 35 Hitmakers list.