EXCLUSIVE: Pharrell Williams Comes Full Circle as Personal Mentor Sean Combs Joins 'The Voice'
By Sophie Schillaci
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Team Pharrell is rockin' with the best!
Pharrell Williams has called on his own personal mentor to lend a hand on the upcoming season of The Voice, and only ET was on set with Pharrell and Sean "Diddy" Combs, aka Puff Daddy, as they doled out advice to the latest crop of contenders.
"Essentially, what it is that I do on the show is what he did for me," Pharrell explains. "I came in the studio with Chad [Hugo, of The Neptunes], and we produced some records and he was the one that looked at me and said, 'You gotta do more than be behind the keyboards. You gotta get in front of the keyboard, as well.’"
Pharrell says that he and Chad worked as producers while waiting for a record deal to unfold, but the process took longer than expected.
"Fast forward years later, we got to work with Puff. I had already gotten rid of the dreams of being a performer, I was past that," the 42-year-old recalls. "But he was the one that identified so much more in me. ... Had I just stayed in my comfort zone, I wouldn't have known that there was so much more I could do in the world."
The respect is certainly mutual! Sean had nothing but raves for Pharrell's impressive career.
"That's the power of music and when you're doing in the way that he does it," Sean says. "It may sound corny, but he does make the world a better place. Imagine us not having the records that he's made, you know what I'm saying?"
Fittingly, Pharrell tells ET that the main message they are passing along to this year's contestants is to push boundaries. "Don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone," he explains, "because the greatest part of you is the undiscovered part of you."
While Pharrell and Sean have years of wisdom to share with aspiring musicians, we had to wonder what kind of advice these dads give to their kids at home.
"Humility and loyalty, I feel like those two things are the ultimate currency," Pharrell says. "So I just try to push my son to be humble. He's really talented, he's really smart and bright, but I want him to be humble with the things that he does so all those other things will shine on their own. He gets that."
Meanwhile, Sean reveals that it's his children who have been offering him advice in recent years.
"We're so close, so they know me and they can read me. I've been giving them advice so long, I guess it taught them how to give advice," he says. "On a personal level, I actually sent my girls some texts and I just asked them, I said, 'Can you tell me how to become a better daddy?' That's the kind of relationship that I have with them. They are the ones giving me advice now."
Season 10 of The Voice premieres on Feb. 29 on NBC, with Pharrell, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton on the panel. Blake has selected girlfriend Gwen Stefani as his team's advisor this season, while Christina has enlisted the help of Patti LaBelle.
"Every season, it's different," Pharrell says of his current team. "I got a couple unicorns in there where you're just like, 'Whoa, where'd this person come from and where did they get this thing from?' But I think that the competition this season is very tough and it's up there, and the stakes are super high, so everyone has to work super hard. No one should walk around being comfortable."
Around this time last year, Pharrell became visibly emotional after ET shared with him a touching message from one of his biggest fans. See the beautiful moment play out in the video below.