With a new song out and a new album coming soon, Robin Thicke is looking to put all of 2014 behind him. Before that can happen, the New York Times ran Thicke through a litany of questions regarding the “Blurred Lines” lawsuit.
I was surprised. Very surprised. Obviously, that’s why we’re appealing. I know the difference between inspiration and theft. I’m constantly inspired, but I would never steal. And neither would Pharrell.
He could clearly relate to Mark Ronson and Sam Smith going through similar issues with their songs. Or not.
Many listeners noted similarities between Marc Ronson and Bruno Mars’s recent song “Uptown Funk!” and the Gap Band’s “Oops Up Side Your Head” from 1979. The “Uptown Funk” songwriting credits were revised to include members of the Gap Band.
Well, I can sing both of those songs at the same time. It’s the same notes, the same cadence — everything’s the exact same. That’s why I think that’s a very fair decision.
Then there’s the case of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me,” whose melody resembles the one in Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.” In January, Smith agreed to pay songwriting royalties to Petty.
Again, those songs are the same. The same notes, on the same timing, in the same rhythm. The two songs are exactly the same.
Interesting. In any case, Thicke won’t be taking any chances with credits in the future.
The verdict seems to have already had repercussions, for you and for other artists. On “Morning Sun,” you give co-writing credit to Barry White. Was your decision to include White due to the verdict?
I know I have a target on my back, and my team wanted to be extra cautious given the past year. And until the court decides on inspiration and “feel” in music, I wanted to make sure I would never be in a difficult situation with one of my idols ever again.
Oh, and the song isn’t rape-y at all.
Pharrell and I have never and would never write a song with any negative connotation like that. I think the song on its own — I don’t think that would have existed. Once the video came out, that changed the conversation.
In an interview with GQ, you made a joke about that video, which drew criticism: “What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve never gotten to do that before. I’ve always respected women.”