I often hate the Autotune effect. Because it is used in such an unoriginal way most of the time. Pharrell Williams though, he just loves the Autotune. Hell he’s even responsible for Propellerhead choosing the name Neptune for their pitch-correction device in Reason. For those who are now left wondering: Neptunes is the moniker under which Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo do their productions.
And hell yeah Pharrell does original things with it. For example on this track:
Pharrell is 100% in-tune here, like he is all the time, which makes the track sound super slick. This combined with those great backvocals singing hi, hi, hi, hi in different pitches in the refrain makes this track a pleasure to listen to. Hi, hi, hi, hi, Happy! Clap along.
The backvocals in the refrain are so silky they might be sampled and then pitched. Or maybe they are radically pitched in Autotune or some other pitch-correction device. I think Pharrell is using nothing but his own voice, but pitched it for the backvocals. Although there’s one “Yeah” which really sounds like a girl. It’s probably that naked lady which brings Pharrell his drink.
It reminds me of something I fooled around with some time ago using the Reason Neptune device. I build a little config in Reason using the Neptune device in combination with the MClass EQ just to filter out some of the problematic frequencies for making the voice a little smoother. On the video below you see my friend @kruithoph using that configuration and singing vocal harmonies live by using his voice as a sound input and playing a MIDI-keyboard for creating the harmonies on the Neptune device. Killer, right?