Pharrell Williams touches heaven with Kim Burrell on ‘Today’ before Little Big Town reconnection

Pharrell Williams is an artist who is always in demand. Between studio time, philanthropy and his fashion enterprise there is little time for extras. Despite all of this, Pharrell found time to give a world-class performance on the "Today” show with dynamic gospel friend Kim Burrell on Dec. 9. The chilly winds of Rockefeller Plaza were warmed with heaven’s grace when Burrell and a full gospel choir joined Pharrell in his military fatigues and knit cap for a divinely infused rendition of “I See a Victory.” The song is the theme from the film, “Hidden Figures,” that reveals the full story of the women whose brilliant mathematical calculations were the catalyst for NASA’s successes. There was an added treat for Pharrell Williams in the crowd during his performance, too—a lovely run in with a Little Big Town friend.

Harry Connick, Jr. who has had Kim Burrell as his partner on “Love Wins” and  the earlier “All These People,” that became an anthem of recovery and restoration, called her voice “the closest transport to heaven” that he knew, and hailed the capacity to reach notes that normally are outside the realm of human vocalists.  There was definitely jubilation from the stage to the crowd filling the morning show’s space.  Ms. Burrell’s red print scarf seemed to become a vehicle of ascension as the chorus comes after the verse that describes “The Ghost is in the room,” and affirms “You know that we’ve been used” before the reminder to “Let it go, let it be,” echoed by the choir, holding on for the promise, “I swear just believe, you'll find victory.” Pharrell Williams could contain neither his hops, his grin, or his joy when he came near to stage left, and saw curly blonde beauty, Kimberly Schlapman, his friend from Little Big Town.  She and Hoda Kotb were having a private revival, swaying in the spirit, and it was clear that Pharrell was completely surprised, and pleased, by her presence.  Smiles in selfies followed, and the bubbly singer described how what was supposed to be a single writing session became eight songs that were co-created and released.

The only other talent Schlapman had to answer for had nothing to do with Pharrell Williams' fine voice, but instead, how she managed to get her hair to look as curly as Kathie Lee Gifford’s without the diffuser that she depends upon daily. She confessed that the needed item was forgotten before her performance so she "paid a lot of money to have a person come fix it.” Even with all his talents, Pharrell Williams can’t fix a bad hair day.