Pharrell Williams was born on April 5, 1973, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, the oldest of all three sons of Carolyn, a teacher, and Pharaoh Williams, a handyman.
He met Chad Hugo in a seventh-grade summer band camp where Williams played the keyboards and drums and Hugo played tenor saxophone. They were also both members of a marching band; Williams played the snare drum while Chad was student conductor. With Hugo, Williams attended Princess Anne High School where they played in the school band; there he got the name Skateboard P.
In the 1990s, Hugo and Williams formed a four-piece “R&B type” group, The Neptunes, with friends Shay Haley and Mike Etheridge. They later entered a high school talent show where they were discovered by Teddy Riley, whose studio was next to Princess Anne High School. After graduating from high school, the group signed with Riley.