Pharrell Williams launches Netflix series on finding undiscovered talent to build gospel choir

Pharrell Williams
Singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams performs during the MTV EMA awards at the Assago forum in Milan, Italy, October 25, 2015. |

Netflix and popular music producer Pharrell Williams are scheduled to release a new unscripted project promoting gospel music.

According to Billboard, Williams, who was nominated for an Academy Award, announced that the streaming service ordered his docuseries “Voices of Fire.” The series is said to explore the entertainer’s hometown of Hampton Roads, Virginia, as it “builds one of the world’s most inspiring gospel choirs.” 

The unscripted project “Voices of Fire” follows gospel leaders and Williams' uncle, Bishop Ezekiel Williams, the general overseer, pastor and founder of Faith World Ministries, as they embark on a quest to find undiscovered talent in Hampton Roads. 

“With the belief that diverse backstories can give their collective voice a greater meaning, the bishop and his team search for people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds,” according to a description of the series.

The show was announced by the Williamses at the Essence Festival over the weekend.

“Voices of Fire” will be produced by Williams' multi-media creative collective, I Am Other, and A. Smith & Co, the company behind “Hell's Kitchen” (FOX), the Emmy-nominated “American Ninja Warrior,” “The Titan Games” (NBC), and “Unsung (TV One).

News of the new series follows reports that Williams and “BlackAF” creator Kenya Barris are pursuing Netflix as the home for a Juneteenth-inspired musical

“Voices of Fire” is set to premiere on Netflix later this year. 

The artist has also been featured in a collaboration with gospel musician Kirk Franklin for the song "123 Victory Remix." In a previous interview with Beats 1 Radio show the OTHERtone, Williams shared his opinion about how the world of science and religion could seek to understand one another.

"I don't think the church gives enough credence to science. On a scientific level, there's departments in your brain for everything that you think," Williams said. "All of your thoughts come from your brain ... and there's a part where it falls under religion. And certain people just don't have that."

He added, “I think a cool way to bring people together is to say, 'Look, you don't have to look at it in a faithful or religious way. Read it as a text,'" he said. "Replace the word God with 'the universe' and it starts making more sense to you."

Although Williams’ controversial suggestion sounded to some to be antithetical to the Gospel message, he assured that he places his beliefs in the Word of God.

"Now, I know that there's power in that Word. I've experienced it. I've seen it," he added. "But everyone has their journey and not everyone is going to believe. But I think it's really important to get us to understand. ... Because if you have a difference of opinion, I think it's smarter for you to understand your difference of opinion than to not know at all."

Follow Jeannie Law on Twitter: @jlawcpFollow Jeannie Law on Facebook: JeannieOMusic

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