Posted by Paul Grimwood on Oct, 27 2017

ROLI Signs Pharrell Williams As Chief Creative Officer

Pharrell Williams has joined UK startup/musical instrument manufacturer ROLI as its Chief Creative Officer.

Pharrell Williams for ROLI Roli, a London-based startup that makes a new style of keyboard, along with other modular music creation instruments and tools that work by touch and sound, is today announcing that Pharrell Williams, the musician and investor, is joining the company as chief creative officer. He has also launched Happy by Pharrell, a studiopack for ROLI's 'NOISE' app, which fans can use to play around with the vocals, beats, and basslines that have made Pharrell's track a global hit. RELATED: Pharrell Williams Joins American Express as Creative Director Pharrell comments, "Music touches all of us, and for a long time I've been passionate about finding ways to share the power of music with more people. When I met Roland and ROLI, I immediately felt we were working towards exactly the same goals, and so I'm super excited that we're kicking off this partnership." With the appointment, Williams is also taking an investment in the company, founder and CEO Roland Lamb confirmed. The amount of the investment is not being disclosed. To date, Roli has raised just under $50 million, with previous investors reading like a who’s-who of the VC world. Adding Williams to the mix follows a bigger trend we’ve seen of musicians taking a stronger role in the tech world, often in alignment with companies that are working on products that have synergies with their other professional lives. Pharrell is also an advisor to Mixhalo, a system for high-definition audio at live events. Jay-Z acquiring the streaming service Tidal (as well as making other music investments such as backing the super-expensive, high end speaker startup Devialet; and planning a new VC fund). Will.i.am makes investments and also has his own hardware company, i.am+. And perhaps the biggest of them all is Beats, the music streaming and hardware business that included Dr Dre and producer Jimmy Iovine as two co-founders and was eventually acquired by Apple for $3 billion.