Pharrell Williams told a Los Angeles jury Wednesday he was trying to evoke the feel of Marvin Gaye's music but didn't copy the late singer's work when he crafted the 2013 hit "Blurred Lines."
Williams said he grew up listening to Gaye's music and was familiar with his song "Got to Give It Up" — but didn't use it as a basis for "Blurred Lines," which was a hit for him and collaborators Robin Thicke and T.I.
Gaye was "one of the ones we look up to," Williams said. "This is the last place I want to be."
Gaye's children are suing Williams, Thicke and T.I., claiming "Blurred Lines" infringes their father's copyrights for 1977's "Got to Give It Up." Williams' testimony is crucial because he wrote the song's music and most of its lyrics. T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris, is expected to be among the case's final witnesses Thursday.
Williams, a judge on NBC's "The Voice," said that after the song was released, he saw similarities between "Blurred Lines" and Gaye's work, but he said that wasn't a conscious part of his creative process.
When the Gaye family's lawyer asked Williams whether he felt "Blurred Lines" captured the feel of the era in which Gaye recorded, the singer responded: "Feel. Not infringed."
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— Associated Press