Some people are busy, others are workoholics and a few transform in gold everything they touch. This article is dedicated to the multiple-facetted artist will.i.am. He is DJ, singer, producer,creation director, actor and composer.. frankly he never sleeps.
His early years
Of his real name William James Adams Jr. , he was born on March 15th 1975 in Los Angeles, city of stars.What is amazing with talented people is that from a young age, you could imagine that he would become someone. As a child he used to entertain his family and friends by performing small shows, singing, dancing… At that time will.i.am used to live in a hard area. Lots of friends got killed, arrested or… both. He definetely wanted something more for his life.
Tribal Nation, where everything started
In 1989, will.i.am was only 14 years old and joined the break dance group TRIBAL NATION. He meets for the first time Apl, his friend since then. It was at this time that will.i.am discovered the music industry, the music scene in Los Angeles and also what would take to pursuit his dream. With apl, they shared the same passion for hip-hop and knew they wanted to pursuit a bigger dream in the music industry. Quite fast, they create the group A.T.B.A.N Klann, an acronym for “A Tribe Beyond a Nation.
Atban Klann, first album.
In 1992 they get they opportunity to shine thanks to the help of Eazy-E from Ruthless Records. They launch a first album without a big success. Ruthless records does not invest on the group as there was a commercial doubt on the future of it. After the death of Easy-E in 1995, will.i.am and apl decide to quit Ruthless Records and move on. They meet Taboo, who becomes the new member of the group. Group by the way change name, to be called … The Black Eyed Peas.
Black Eyed Peas and the success finally arrives!
New name, new Record label and new energy. They start making a name in the west coast scene. They also had a female vocalist, Kim Hill.
Things starts going up for the group and in 2000, the album Elephunk is released. Collaborations with Wyclef Jean, Mos Def, De La Soul, Jurassic 5’s Chali 2na, and Macy Gray shows how the group is getting into the right way. It is also the arrival of Fergie, in replacement of Kim Hill who left the group. And the Black Eyed Peas are formed. Since then will.i.am and the Black Eyed Peas became a worldwide stars with mega successes like Hey Mama, Don’t Phunk with my heart, Let’s get it started, I got a feeling and Dirty beat. will.i.am became also the producer of the group and with apl they right the songs and music despite some collaborations with people like David Guetta. In total, 5 albums in 13 years.
The Solo Artist
Up to now he launched 3 solo albums and a new one is launched this year, which make is a total of 4.
- Lost Change in 2001
- Must B 21 2003
- Songs About Girls in 2007
- #willpower in 2013
What we can say here is that all these albums were personal explorations with sounds will.i.am used to develop either in studio or during his dj sets. Up to now he was not really very successful with his personal albums but it gave him a lot of experience and also a name. The new album, called #willpower contains several collaborations. Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, Chris Brown,Skylar Grey, Juicy J, Miley Cyrus, Nicole Scherzinger, Eva Simons, 2NE1, Baby Kaely, apl.de.ap and Dante Santiago. Apparently this new album got a much better start than the previous ones.
The Dj sets
All year long, will.i.am continues doing Dj sets in many places. According to him, this is mainly when he tries new sounds. He explained once that this is how Dirty Beat for example was created. One evening he was doing the DJ in a club in Ibiza. Fergie was in the place and he knew she loved the original song from Dirty Dancing. She did a surprise for her by playing the song in the club (He actually sang himself). It was not a long way until he got “the” sound and Dirty beat was created.
The music Producer
When you know how to do music, especially worldwide blockbusters, you can also offer your services to others. And will.i.am is one of those music artists who also act behind the scenes to many others. And when I say “many” I mean “many”.
Check here the non-exhaustive list of artists with whom will.i.am collaborated and collaborate with:
- Michael Jackson (Thriller 25th Anniversary album + new album never launched)
- Justin Bieber
- Easy-E (until his death in 1995)
- Britney Spears
- David Guetta
- Justin Timberlake
- Earth Wind and Fire
- Nicki Minaj
- Cheryl Cole
- The Game
- Bone Thugs-n-Harmony
- Daddy Yankee
- Wolfgang Gartner
He also produces the Black Eyed Peas since a couple of years now of course as he gathered so many experiences.
Probably any music artist in the top 10 best artists in the world were at one point produced by will.i.am. Frankly?… impressed!
As probably the music industry was not enough, will.i.am was also invited several times to contribute to many movies in different ways. His major role was clearly the character of John Wraith on the X-Men Origins: Wolverine (images above). He played the role of a mutant-stylish-black-cowboy with the ability of teleportation. Just that. When we see all the different activities he does, I start to believe that he has actually teleportation powers.
He also acted as the voice of the character Moto Moto in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and the voice of Pedro, a red-crested Cardinal in Rio.
will.i.am also played in different TV series like Joan of Arcadia, Cane, The cleveland Show, Top Gear, The X factor and lately The Voice UK
The Creative Director and Business man
When you have the opportunity to meet someone so creative, you definitely wish to collaborate with him, especially if you are a company. In January 2011, Intel Corp. named will.i.am as Director of creative innovation, with input in developing smartphones, tablets and laptops. One year later, in January 2012, he appeared on the BBC TV series Top Gear, as the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, where he revealed he will be starting his own car company called IAMAUTO. His goal with this car company is to create jobs in the guettos where he came from. He explains that he is so passionate about technology and geek stuff that he is investing all his money on this project to see how they can create something different, something new and sustainable.
will.i.am also created a brand called IAM+. This brand is commercializing iPhone accessories that will improve the photo capabilities of your iPhone. So from a 8 million pixels camera on your iPhone5, you get a 14 million pixels.
You can check this amazing clever project on the official website: http://www.i.am
will.i.am is also invested in many causes. Here above is one of the different projects, this one with the other members of the Black Eyed Peas, is about creating schools across USA in partnership with Adobe. Children from all social fields can attend to creative multimedia classes and shape a better future. Here below all causes will.i.am support. Some of them like the i.am angel foundation or i.am home fund were created by the artist himself.
- Adobe Foundation
- City of Hope
- Common Ground Foundation
- Declare Yourself
- GRAMMY Foundation
- Green For All
- i.am.angel foundation
- i.am.home Fund
- i.am scholarship Fund
- League of Conservation Voters
- Mercy Corps
- Music Rising
- Prince’s Trust
- Red Cross
- RETHINK Fabrics
- Robin Hood
- Shriners Hospitals for Children
- The Black Eyed Peas Foundation
As you can see, some people take the best out of life and for them every second counts. Here, Mr will.i.am has an amazing career and professional life. He is one of the most inspiring creator today and probably the most gifted one of his generation. Now, you know.
Info sourced at startertv.fr, radiostarcom.com, wikipedia, www3.pictures.zimbio.com, www.i.am, news.autoplus.fr, technology-corner.com, jasonburton80.files.wordpress.com, 3.bp.blogspot.com, i1.cdnds.net, media.salon.com, media.melty.fr, radiostarcom.com, The black Eyed Peas official website… and more!