He was headlining Shaggfest at Farm Bureau Live.
But the Beach native had to make an important stop before the concert.
Pharrell Williams walked into his alma mater to his hit song, “Happy”, played by the Princess Anne High School band.
“I still remember my drum cadence that we learned from JMU, Mr. Sharp’s, I still remember it.”
He was a member of the band there as a student in the 90s.
“They say celebrities, I don’t use that word. I’m a local.”
Hundreds packed the gym as Pharrell shared fond memories of his teachers there.
“Life is like a mosaic. It’s a bunch of pieces. I’m just one piece. But the rest of the pieces are my teachers that kept pushing me.”
He spoke most fondly of Alan Sharp, his band director while he was at Princess Anne.
“He never gave up on me. Whenever I messed up, I had to take a lap around the track.”
“My grades were not the best, I’m telling you right now, it was a lot of C’s and D’s and I’m not talking about the compact disc.”
State leaders proclaimed June 7 Pharrell Williams Day.
Mayor Sessoms even gave him the keys to the city.
“It’s a proud day for Virginia Beach, especially with what a home grown product from Virginia Beach has accomplished.”
And current Princess Anne High School student Alec Smith – designed a special pair of sneakers for Pharrell – covered in Virginia Beach landmarks.
Folks close to Pharrell say even though he was busy getting ready to headline at Shaggfest, it was important to come back to his old stomping grounds.
Shaggy from Z104 was friends with Pharrell since their Princess Anne days.
“The Hampton Roads area, we set the music trend. Everybody from the Bruce Hornsbys, to the Teddy Rileys, to Timberland, The Clips, NERD, when we want to, we can take music in a direction no one else can touch.”
And now, Pharrell’s using that star power – to push causes for education – like his local foundation – from one hand to another.
He encouraged everyone in the room to find a way to give back, too.
“Find something that you love to do, find a vocation next to it, if you can find a third thing which is to service humanity you’re going to have a fun life where you never work, you keep getting paid for it, and you’re going to make people happy. That’s your goal.”