The Baby Name Pharrell – Trendy Again?

"Happy" by Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams had been a successful producer (as part of The Neptunes) since the mid-1990s, working with Jay Z, Britney Spears, Nelly, Justin Timberlake, Kelis, and others.

But he didn’t start getting attention as a solo artist until 2003. That’s when when he released the single “Frontin’,” which peaked at #5 on the Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart in September. (Crazily enough, 2003 was also the year that 43% of songs played on U.S. radio were produced by The Neptunes.)

The same year, the baby name Pharrell debuted impressively in the SSA’s baby name data:

  • 2013: 16 baby boys named Pharrell
  • 2012: 10 baby boys named Pharrell
  • 2011: 14 baby boys named Pharrell
  • 2010: 18 baby boys named Pharrell
  • 2009: 16 baby boys named Pharrell
  • 2008: 19 baby boys named Pharrell
  • 2007: 16 baby boys named Pharrell
  • 2006: 37 baby boys named Pharrell
  • 2005: 31 baby boys named Pharrell
  • 2004: 44 baby boys named Pharrell
  • 2003: 67 baby boys named Pharrell [debut]
  • 2002: unlisted

Not only was the name Pharrell the top debut name of 2003, but it was also the 21st most popular debut name of all time on the boys’ list. (Variant Pharell had debuted the previous year.)

And Pharrell Williams — who has a dad named Pharaoh and a son named Rocket, incidentally — has been on the scene ever since. But 2013 and 2014 were particularly big years for him, with the success of the songs “Blurred Lines” and “Happy,” and his new gig as a judge on The Voice.

Usage of the name cooled off after 2003, but there was a slight increase in 2013. Do you think Williams’ ongoing exposure will boost the name even higher in 2014?

Source: Frontin’ – Wikipedia, Like the song? These guys wrote it

2 thoughts on “The Baby Name Pharrell – Trendy Again?

  1. Pharrell feels like one of those iconic names to me like Beyonce or Madonna – very closely associated with the star. I do think his popularity could cause the name to rise a bit.

  2. Although it has Hollywood approval, it still sounds like feral… like a feral cat… when said aloud. This is a major detractor. Will Ferrell also comes to mind. As much as I like Happy and Elf, Pharrell just doesn’t seem to work for the masses.

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