As a 13-time Grammy winner, Pharrell Williams has certainly been honored for his songwriting, but looking back now, he admits that he's written and recorded lyrics that are, well, problematic.
"Some of my old songs, I would never write or sing today," Williams tells GQ in a cover story for its November issue, called "The New Masculinity."
"I get embarrassed by some of that stuff. It just took a lot of time and growth to get to that place," he adds. "I was also born in a different era where the rules of the matrix at that time allowed a lot of things that would never fly today."
The "Happy" singer says he got a major reality check when he learned that some considered the lyrics of "Blurred Lines," his smash hit with Robin Thicke and T.I., to be offensive to women.
"My mind opened up to what was actually being said in the song and how it could make someone feel," Williams explains. "Even though it wasn't the majority, it didn't matter. I cared what they were feeling too."
"I realized that we live in a [male] chauvinist culture in our country ... didn't realize that some of my songs catered to that. So that blew my mind."
Williams is now focused on showing women more respect: His "This Is Her Time" Adidas fashion campaign is dedicated to female activists, for example. He says it's time for a shift in the male-dominated universe.
"Man, what would the world be like if women held all of the highest positions worldwide?" he asks. "Women are waking up every day, more and more, to the fact that they have the power."
"The only thing we got to do is balance the scales. We have to understand power. And who has it."