I did things in my 30s that were ignored by the world, that could have been quickly labeled a failure. Here’s a classic example; in 1974 I did a movie called Phantom of the Paradise. Phantom of the Paradise, which was a huge flop in this country. There were only two cities in the world where it had any real success: Winnipeg, in Canada, and Paris, France. So, okay, let’s write it off as a failure. Maybe you could do that.

But all of the sudden, I’m in Mexico, and a 16-year-old boy comes up to me at a concert with an album - a Phantom of the Paradise soundtrack- and asks me to sign it. I sign it. Evidently I was nice to him and we had a nice little conversation. I don’t remember the moment, I remember signing the album (I don’t know if I think I remember or if I actually remember). But this little 14 or 16, whatever old this guy was… Well I know who the guy is now because I’m writing a musical based on Pan’s Labyrinth; it’s Guillermo del Toro.

The work that I’ve done with Daft Punk it’s totally related to them seeing Phantom of the Paradise 20 times and deciding they’re going to reach out to this 70-year-old songwriter to get involved in an album called Random Access Memories.

So, what is the lesson in that? The lesson for me is being very careful about what you label a failure in your life. Be careful about throwing something in the round file as garbage because you may find that it’s the headwaters of a relationship that you can’t even imagine it’s coming in your future.

You know, back when I was drinking and using I used to imagine things that weren’t there, that were frightening. Then I got sober and two robots called me and asked me to make an album.

Music producer PAUL WILLIAMS, accepting the Album of the Year Grammy on behalf of Daft Punk.


[Thomas and Guy-Man] were really amazingly easy to work with. I was given music and asked to write words for it. I could tell the level of acceptance by the speed at which the two of them would speak in French. I’d read a line, and there would be this machine-gun sample of French, and laughter and whatever. [In a French accent] “We love this! We love this!”
—  Paul Williams on collaborating with Daft Punk  (x)

Back when I was drinking and using and I used to imagine things that weren’t there and were frightening..then I got sober and two robots called me and asked me to make an album.
We are Random Access Memories, some of us more random than others. You know, I just got a message from the robots and what they wanted me to say was, as elegant and as classy as the Grammy as ever been, is the moment when we saw those wonderful marriages, and ‘Same Love’ is as fantastic-..It was the height of fairness and love and the power of love for all people at any time and in any combination, is what they wanted me to say.

They sail, Captain Kirk sails on the Enterprise, they sail on a ship called generosity. They are generous of spirit. Everybody up here, Pharrell has just been spectacular in the things that he has said. This is a legend, this is a labour of love, we are all so grateful. God bless you, thank you to the academy.

Thank you Thomas, thank you Guy Man!


Paul Williams

Daft Punk Grammy Acceptance Speech

Album of the Year 2013