Pharrell William’s first attempt at a solo record was too “self-centered”.

The 42-year-old spent many years producing records for big names including Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani and Justin Timberlake. He found success on his own in 2013 with Happy as well as featuring on Blurred Lines with Robin Thicke and Get Lucky with Daft Punk. But the music maestro has admitted the songs were his second attempt at being a solo artist.

“I did a record in 2006, but it was just an experiment. It was too braggadocious and self-centered,” he confessed to Vanity Fair. “A few years ago, Columbia Records asked me to do Get Lucky with Daft Punk, and that’s how that happened.”

Pharrell learnt his lesson from his previous attempt and put his heart and soul into his debut album, G I R L. His efforts paid off and lead single Happy went on to be one of the biggest selling singles in recent times. But the star admits it would have been a lot different if it hadn’t featured on the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack.

“Happy had been out for eight months with no radio airplay because it didn’t sound like an EDM song—and that’s all radio was playing,” he explained. “That song would never have been the same song if it had been for my album, but because it was for an animation, the only thing I could do was to put pure emotion into it—make a song for a man just walking down the street with pure happiness because he fell in love for the first time.”

Happy took on a life of its own after its release, with people all over the world filming their own version of it. But Pharrell was thrilled with the response, and couldn’t have asked for more.

“We shot a video for it, and then the song became everyone else’s,” he smiled.”When you see that many people rallying behind an idea, and you realise you were used as a vessel to communicate, that’s humbling.”