The First Mom of Music

Carolyn Williams, Pharrell’s mother, now knows that her kids were listening to more than the radio

Pharrell's mother, Dr. Carolyn Williams

Glenn Fajota

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It’s Labor Day weekend, and Dr. Carolyn Williams, a retired teacher from Virginia Beach, is in Miami talking on the phone.

“It’s just what I do now,” she says when asked why she’s in Florida. “I split my time between Virginia, Miami and LA.”

She doesn’t mention right away why she would want to divide her time between those locations, that maybe she has family in each city.

Family such as much-loved sons. (She later spills the beans.)

In the background, music thumps as Dr. Williams talks. It sounds like carnival music at first, and then hearing it grow louder, like cartoon music.

A little voice speaks.

“Water” is heard. Later, “yogurt.”

Dr. Williams doesn’t obviously acknowledge the talking. Maybe she’s opening a refrigerator door and handing one or both to her grandson, her only grandchild.

He’s 5, and his name is Rocket Man.

His mom is Dr. Williams’ daughter-in-law as of last October; her name is Helen Lasichanh, a model-designer who’s somewhat known in the fashion and music industry.

His dad is Dr. Williams’ son Pharrell, a producer-singer-designer-entrepreneur-new coach on NBC’s The Voice who’s so well known in the fashion and music industry and around the world that I really didn’t need to list his credentials.

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