In an interview with The New York Times that was posted Wednesday, Thicke says he was “careless” during the deposition, which occurred two weeks after he separated from actress Paula Patton. He and Pharrell were later ordered to pay nearly $7.4 million to three of Marvin Gaye’s children after a jury in Los Angeles determined the performers had copied elements of the R&B icon’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up” for “Blurred Lines.”
“I was going through personal hell at the time. And I was careless in the deposition,” Thicke said. “Obviously, I didn’t give my all to the trial. It simply wasn’t as important to me as what was going on in my personal life. I was lost at the time. I had lost my way.”
Thicke told the Times he was surprised they lost the case and “that’s why we’re appealing. I know the difference between inspiration and theft. I’m constantly inspired, but I would never steal. And neither would Pharrell.”
Thicke said he couldn’t elaborate when answering some of the reporter’s questions because of the appeal.
The 38-year-old singer-songwriter said his creative process hasn’t changed, despite getting his hand slapped following “Blurred Lines,” the biggest hit of 2013.
“For me, it will not, it has not, changed my process in any way. But yes, many artists and writers have voiced their concerns to me about this,” he said. “And if the verdict holds up, I believe that it will have a ripple effect on the arts and the industry in general.”
Some artists, including John Legend, have said the decision in the “Blurred Lines” case could set a bad precedent for musicians creating songs inspired by others.
When asked about Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk!” and Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” – big hits that gave writing credit to older songs after topping the charts – Thicke said he thought those contemporary songs should recognize the past ones.
“It’s the same notes, the same cadence – everything’s the exact same,” he said of “Uptown Funk!” and “Oops Up Side Your Head” by the Gap Band. “That’s why I think that’s a very fair decision.”
“Again, those songs are the same,” he said of Smith’s breakthrough hit and Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.”
“The same notes, on the same timing, in the same rhythm. The two songs are exactly the same.”