Last updated

Will.i.am in 2018.jpg
Adams in 2018
Background information
Birth nameWilliam James Adams, Jr. [note 1]
Also known as
  • Will 1X
  • illwilly
  • Zuper Blahq
Born (1975-03-15) March 15, 1975 (age 44)
Los Angeles, California, U.S. [1]
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • DJ
  • record producer
  • actor
  • television personality
  • Vocals
  • keyboards
  • bass guitar
Years active1988–present
Associated acts
Website will.i.am

William James Adams Jr. (born March 15, 1975), known professionally as will.i.am (pronounced ‘Will-I-am’), is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, DJ and actor. He is best known as a founding and lead member of the hip hop group The Black Eyed Peas.

Hip hop music music genre consisting of a stylized rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping

Hip hop music, also called hip-hop or rap music, is a genre of popular music developed in the United States by inner-city African Americans and Latino Americans in the Bronx borough of New York City in the 1970s. It consists of a stylized rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted. It developed as part of hip hop culture, a subculture defined by four key stylistic elements: MCing/rapping, DJing/scratching with turntables, break dancing, and graffiti writing. Other elements include sampling beats or bass lines from records, and rhythmic beatboxing. While often used to refer solely to rapping, "hip hop" more properly denotes the practice of the entire subculture. The term hip hop music is sometimes used synonymously with the term rap music, though rapping is not a required component of hip hop music; the genre may also incorporate other elements of hip hop culture, including DJing, turntablism, scratching, beatboxing, and instrumental tracks.

The Black Eyed Peas American hip hop group

Black Eyed Peas is an American musical group, consisting of rappers will.i.am, apl.de.ap, and Taboo, as well as singer Jessica Reynoso. Originally an alternative hip hop group, they subsequently changed their musical sound to pop and dance-pop music. Although the group was founded in Los Angeles in 1995, it was not until the release of their third album, Elephunk, in 2003, that they achieved high record sales. Since that time, the group has sold an estimated 75 million records, making them one of the world's best-selling groups of all time. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the Black Eyed Peas were the second-best-selling artist/group of all time for downloaded tracks, behind Rihanna, with over 42 million sales.


As a solo artist, will.i.am has released four solo albums, beginning with Lost Change , released in 2001 through Atlantic Records. His second solo outing, Must B 21 , was released on September 23, 2003. The track "Go!" was regularly used as the theme for the NBA Live 2005 and Madden NFL 2005 seasons. The third album, Songs About Girls , was released on September 25, 2007. He released his fourth studio album, #willpower , in 2013.

<i>Lost Change</i> 2001 studio album by will.i.am

Lost Change is the debut studio album released by The Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am. It was released on October 2, 2001 by Atlantic Records, and includes the song "I Am", co-written with Koliyah White. The album was supported by the release single "I Am".

Atlantic Records American record label

Atlantic Recording Corporation is an American record label founded in October 1947 by Ahmet Ertegün and Herb Abramson. Over its first 20 years of operation, Atlantic earned a reputation as one of the most important American labels, specializing in jazz, R&B, and soul by Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, Ruth Brown and Otis Redding. Its position was greatly improved by its distribution deal with Stax. In 1967, Atlantic became a wholly owned subsidiary of Warner Bros.-Seven Arts, now the Warner Music Group, and expanded into rock and pop music with releases by Led Zeppelin and Yes.

<i>Must B 21</i> 2003 studio album by will.i.am

Must B 21 is the second studio album released by The Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am. The album was released on September 23, 2003, and included the NFL and NBA hit "Go", featuring NIU and Dante Santiago.

As a music producer, will.i.am has produced with other artists including Cheryl, Michael Jackson, Justin Bieber, Kesha, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, David Guetta, U2, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Usher, Justin Timberlake, A. R. Rahman, Nicki Minaj, 2NE1, and Baby Kaely. [2] In collaborations and with the Black Eyed Peas, he has a total of 41 top-40 entries on the UK Singles Chart since 1998, and has sold 9.4 million singles in the UK. [3]

Cheryl (singer) English singer, songwriter and television personality

Cheryl Ann Tweedy is an English singer and television personality. Born and raised in Newcastle upon Tyne, she rose to fame in late 2002 upon winning a place in Girls Aloud, a girl group created through ITV's Popstars: The Rivals. While still in the group, she began a solo career in April 2009, and between then and 2014, she released four studio albums – 3 Words (2009), Messy Little Raindrops (2010), A Million Lights (2012) and Only Human (2014). Collectively, the albums included ten singles, five of which – "Fight for This Love, "Promise This", "Call My Name", "Crazy Stupid Love" and "I Don't Care" – reached the top position on the UK Singles Chart. Cheryl was the first British female solo artist to have five number-one singles in the UK, and she held the record for the British female solo artist with the most UK number-one singles until Jess Glynne overtook her in 2018.

Michael Jackson American singer, songwriter and dancer

Michael Joseph Jackson was an American singer, songwriter, and dancer. Dubbed the "King of Pop", he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century and one of the greatest entertainers. Jackson's contributions to music, dance, and fashion, along with his publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.

Justin Bieber Canadian singer-songwriter and actor

Justin Drew Bieber is a Canadian singer-songwriter and actor. Encountered at 13 years old by talent manager Scooter Braun after he had watched the boy's YouTube cover song videos, Bieber was signed to RBMG Records in 2008. Bieber then released his debut EP, My World, in late 2009. It was certified Platinum in the United States. With the EP, Bieber became the first artist to have seven songs from a debut record chart on the US Billboard Hot 100. Bieber released his first studio album, My World 2.0, in 2010. It debuted at number one in several countries, was certified triple Platinum in the US, and contained his single "Baby", which debuted at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold 12 million units.

Early life

William James Adams Jr. [note 1] was born in Eastside Los Angeles, and was raised in the Estrada Courts housing projects in the Boyle Heights neighborhood, where he and his family were among the few African Americans living in a predominantly Hispanic community. [8] [9] Adams has never met his father, [1] William Adams Sr. He was raised by his mother, Debra (née Cain), [10] [11] who encouraged him to be unique and to avoid conforming to the tendencies of the other youths in his neighborhood on the east side of Los Angeles. To encourage his musical career, she sent him to public schools in affluent West Los Angeles. [1] While attending John Marshall High School, he became best friends with Allan Pineda (stage name apl.de.ap), who was also a future member of The Black Eyed Peas. While still in high school, Adams and Pineda performed in East L.A. clubs and were soon joined by three other entertainers to form the socially conscious rap group, Atban Klann. Atban Klann caught the eye of Compton rapper Eazy-E and was signed to his label, Ruthless Records in 1992.

Eastside Los Angeles region of the city of Los Angeles, California, United States

The Eastside of Los Angeles County, California, is a geographic region that includes the neighborhoods of Boyle Heights, El Sereno and Lincoln Heights within the city of Los Angeles and also East Los Angeles, California, an unincorporated area.

Estrada Courts

Estrada Courts is a low-income housing project in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles, California.

Public housing residential properties owned by a government

Public housing is a form of housing tenure in which the property is owned by a government authority, which may be central or local.

Adams used to attend raves while in high school. He later said his history with rave culture is why he chose a more electro sound for The Black Eyed Peas' albums The E.N.D. and The Beginning . Despite the use of electro and house music elements, will.i.am prefers to separate the underground from pop. In an article with Los Angeles Times , he mentions that secrecy over the whereabouts of raves is what made raving special, and different from the mainstream. [12]

<i>The E.N.D.</i> album by The Black Eyed Peas

The E.N.D. is the fifth studio album by American group The Black Eyed Peas. It was released on June 3, 2009. Critics described the album as containing more anthemic and inspirational songs in the group's bid to appeal to a new generation of music listeners.

House music is a genre of electronic dance music. It was created by disc jockeys and music producers from Chicago's underground club culture in the early and mid 1980s, as DJs from the subculture began altering disco dance tracks to give them a more mechanical beat and deeper basslines. As well, these DJs began to mix synth pop, rap, Latin music, and even jazz into their tracks.

Mainstream is the prevalent current thought that is widespread.

Music career

1988–2000: Formations and The Black Eyed Peas

will.i.am performing with The Black Eyed Peas in June 2009 Flickr - moses namkung - Black Eyed Peas 1.jpg
will.i.am performing with The Black Eyed Peas in June 2009

In the summer of 1988 will.i.am began his music career when, as an eighth-grader, he met up with fellow rapper Allan Pineda (apl.de.ap) and fellow student Dante Santiago. They began performing together around Los Angeles and were soon discovered by rapper/entrepreneur Eazy-E, who signed them to his label Ruthless Records in 1992. At the time, Will was known as "Will 1X". Atban Klann's first ever official track, "Merry Muthafuckin' Xmas", was included on Eazy-E's EP 5150: Home 4 tha Sick . After this, the trio began recording an album, "Grass Roots", with the help of producers Mookie Mook and DJ Motiv8, but the album was never released due to Eazy-E's death in 1995. After Eazy's tragic death, they changed their name to Black Eyed Pods, and Will replaced Dante with Jaime Gomez, better known under his stage name of Taboo. In 1997, they once again changed their name, this time to The Black Eyed Peas, and began recording their first album, Behind the Front , with the help of soul singer Kim Hill. They were soon signed to Interscope Records, and released their debut single, "Joints & Jam", in early 1998. The album was successful enough for the group's contract to be renewed, and in 2000, a second album, Bridging the Gap , was released.

apl.de.ap American singer, drummer

Allan Pineda Lindo, known professionally as apl.de.ap, is a Filipino-American rapper, singer and record producer best known as a member of the Grammy Award-winning hip hop group The Black Eyed Peas.

Eazy-E American Rapper

Eric Lynn Wright, known professionally as Eazy-E, was an American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur. Dubbed the "Godfather of Gangsta Rap", he gained prominence for his work with N.W.A, where he has been credited for pushing the boundaries of lyrical and visual content in mainstream popular music.

Ruthless is an American record label, founded by Eric "Eazy-E" Wright and Jerry Heller. The record label was founded in Compton, California in 1987. Ruthless Records since its inception has been a subsidiary of Parent company Comptown Records, Inc. All Ruthless Records trademarks are also owned by Comptown Records Inc. The label's acts over the years have earned RIAA certifications of its released albums, including releases by N.W.A, Eazy-E, MC Ren, The D.O.C., Michel'le, J.J.Fad, and Bone-Thugs-n-Harmony.

2000–2003: Lost Change, Elephunk and Must B 21

Following the release of Bridging the Gap, Will began recording his first solo release, Lost Change , which was the official soundtrack to the film of the same name. Featuring collaborations with Medusa, Planet Asia and Terry Dexter, the album was a critical success.

In November 2001, work began on a third Black Eyed Peas album, Elephunk . Development of the album began on November 2, 2001 and was released just under two years later in 2003. At the time of development, only will.i.am, apl.de.ap and Taboo were to feature on the album. During the production of "Shut Up" (the second single released from the album), they realized that a female vocal would work well with the song. Originally, Nicole Scherzinger (lead singer of The Pussycat Dolls) was approached to make a guest appearance on the record. She was forced to decline because she already was signed to a contract with Eden's Crush. Danté Santiago then introduced Fergie to will.i.am, who was impressed with her vocal talents. She immediately formed a bond with the band and became a permanent member of the Peas and her photo was printed onto the album cover. Nine out of the fourteen tracks were composed by lyricist Robbie Fisher, who has been working closely with the band since the beginning stages of the album. In the United States, Elephunk reached number 14 on the Billboard Top 200 and is their first album to chart in the top 15. It gained even more commercial success in the UK Album Charts where it reached number 3. It has sold over 1.6 million copies in the UK and 8.5 million copies worldwide. [13] The singles "Where Is the Love?" and "Shut Up" reached number 1. "Hey Mama" has been used for several advertisements including advertisements for Apple and iTunes. "Let's Get It Started" also received universal acclaim in the media section where a cover version of the song appears in the film Hot Tub Time Machine . [14] After the success of Elephunk, the Peas were approached by EA games to feature some of their music on the 2004 game The Urbz . They remixed some of the tracks on Elephunk and translated it into Simlish and created new tracks for the game. They also feature in the game as playable characters. [15]

The group released their breakthrough single, "Where Is the Love?", in November 2002 (featuring Justin Timberlake, although he did not appear in the video). On the strength of that single and follow-up singles like "Shut Up", Elephunk went on to sell 8.5 million copies worldwide. During this time, Will recorded a second solo album, Must B 21 . In 2002, Will recorded the song "Secrets" for the soundtrack to Dexter's Laboratory: The Hip-Hop Experiment , a musical accompaniment to the Cartoon Network original series. Prior to this, he had also composed the theme music for another Genndy Tartakovsky series, Samurai Jack .

2003–2006: Monkey Business

In November 2003, work began on a fourth Black Eyed Peas album, entitled Monkey Business , the second album with new band member Fergie. Upon the success of Monkey Business, which was released in 2005, the album was certified three times Platinum by the RIAA in the U.S. and has sold over 10 million copies worldwide. The Canadian Recording Industry Association (or CRIA) has certified Monkey Business 6x Platinum, with sales of over 600,000 copies. The Australian Recording Industry Association (or ARIA) has also certified Monkey Business 6x Platinum, denoting sales of over 420,000 copies. The album's tracks earned the group four 2006 Grammy Award nominations and they also won the Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for "Don't Phunk with My Heart". According to IFPI, over 2 million copies have been sold in Europe. [16] In the UK alone, it has sold over 1 million copies, although this is significantly lower than their sales of Elephunk, which stand at over 1.6 million copies [17] and 10 million worldwide. the band announced they were going to take a break to focus on their own personal projects. Will went on to produce Ferguson's first solo album, The Dutchess , which was released in 2006, before beginning work with Michael Jackson, who had requested Will's expertise for the recording and production of his new album. Work began on the Jackson album in 2006, and continued until the singer's death in 2009, at which point will.i.am revealed that none of the material recorded during the period would be released. However, remixes recorded for Jackson's Thriller 25 anniversary album were released in 2008.

2007–2009: Songs About Girls and Change Is Now

will.i.am with Sheryl Crow and Herbie Hancock performing We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial concert Hancock, Crow, and will.i.am at We Are One.jpg
will.i.am with Sheryl Crow and Herbie Hancock performing We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial concert

In 2007, will.i.am announced that he had co-created an all-female soul band entitled the Paradiso Girls, who he intended to work with on an upcoming solo project. The album, Songs About Girls , was released in 2007. The album spawned three singles, "I Got It From My Mama", "One More Chance" and "Heartbreaker", and fared slightly better than his previous solo efforts, however, failed to shift more than 75,000 copies. Will also did a remix to the song With Love by actress and singer Hilary Duff.

In 2008, will.i.am contributed the song "One Tribe" to the Survival International charity album, Songs for Survival . [18] [19] Also in 2008, he was featured on rapper Flo Rida's debut album, Mail on Sunday , where he produced and featured on the song "In the Ayer", and featured on Usher's fifth album, Here I Stand . In January 2008, will.i.am announced plans that he was masterminding a political album, Change is Now: Renewing America's Promise , in support of Barack Obama's presidential campaign. The first single, "Yes We Can", featured a music video directed by Jesse Dylan. The lyrics of the song are composed almost entirely of excerpts from Obama's speech on January 8, 2008, following the New Hampshire presidential primary election. The video features appearances from numerous celebrities including Scarlett Johansson, Tatyana Ali, John Legend, Herbie Hancock, Kate Walsh, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Adam Rodríguez, Kelly Hu, Hill Harper, Amber Valletta, Eric Balfour, Aisha Tyler, Nicole Scherzinger, Nick Cannon, Bryan Greenberg, and Common and first appeared on the website for Dipdive. The video racked up three million views within a week and over four million subsequently on YouTube. On June 13, 2008, "Yes We Can" won an award at the 35th Annual Creative Arts and Entertainment Daytime Emmy Awards for "New Approaches in Daytime Entertainment". [20] On February 29, 2008, the album's second single, "We Are the Ones", was released on Dipdive and YouTube. Including cameo appearances from Jessica Alba, Ryan Phillippe, Kerry Washington, pop punk band Yellowcard's front man, Ryan Key, John Leguizamo, Regina King, Tyrese Gibson, Eric Mabius, Tichina Arnold, Adrianne Palicki, comedian George Lopez, and singers Macy Gray, Zoe Kravitz and The Black Eyed Peas' Taboo, the video features everyone chanting "O-BA-MA" as a portrayal as their hopes and wishes for Barack Obama and his presidential campaign. On November 4, 2008, will.i.am spoke to CNN's Anderson Cooper about his support for then-Senator Obama using CNN's 'hologram' technology (actually tomography). [21] Following the 2008 election, and Obama's victory, Will released the album's third single, "It's a New Day". The video reflects on the historical events that led to the election of the first African-American president and the public's reaction to his election. The video features celebrities such as Fergie, Olivia Wilde, Kanye West, Harold Perrineau, Kevin Bacon, and his wife Kyra Sedgwick. The video debuted on The Oprah Winfrey Show . In honor of the inauguration of Barack Obama as president, will.i.am collaborated with producer David Foster on the album's fourth single, "America's Song", with contributing vocals from Seal, Bono, Mary J. Blige, and Faith Hill. In response to Barack Obama's reaction following Kanye West's interruption of Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, will.i.am penned the album's fifth and final single, "The Jackass Song". It featured a sample of Kanye West's "Heartless". [22] Will wrote a blog post, which featured the song on Dipdive, and released in February 2009. [23] will.i.am attended and spoke at the FIRST Robotics Competition kickoff on January 8, 2011, declaring, "I am a FIRST fan." [24] He has also named FIRST Founder Dean Kamen "one of [his] heroes" on his verified Twitter account. [25]

2009–present: Black Eyed Peas reformation and #willpower

In March 2009, will.i.am announced plans for The Black Eyed Peas to return, and within months, their comeback single, "Boom Boom Pow", had reached number 1 on the UK Singles Chart and Billboard Hot 100. They went on to have three number 1 singles before releasing their comeback album, The E.N.D. The album's success warranted a second comeback album, The Beginning, released in November 2010. The album spawned another three hit singles, but the band soon announced plans they were to break again, following the conclusion of their world tour. In 2009, will.i.am worked with rappers Flo Rida and Akon for Flo's second studio album, R.O.O.T.S. , and recorded four tracks with Girls Aloud member Cheryl for her debut solo album 3 Words . He also worked with Rihanna on her fourth studio album, Rated R , for a track called "Photographs". In February 2010, he wrote and produced the single "OMG" by Usher, which appeared on Usher's seventh studio album, Raymond vs. Raymond . In a YouTube video posted by YGLifeOfficial on March 15, 2010, will.i.am expressed his desire to work with Korean K-pop girl group 2NE1, and help them achieve international success. [26] Will has recorded a collaboration with Britney Spears, "Big Fat Bass", which features on her seventh studio album, Femme Fatale . [27]

During the recording of The Black Eyed Peas' sixth studio album, The Beginning, band colleague Fergie announced in an interview that will.i.am was in the process of recording a new solo album, tentatively entitled Black Einstein. [28] will.i.am formally announced that he was in the process of recording a fourth solo album, with some material being recorded under the pseudonym Zuper Blahq. [29] In January 2010, a cut from the album, "I'm In the House", a collaboration with Steve Aoki, was released as a single, charting at #29 on the UK Singles Chart due to strong downloads. In October 2010, a second cut from the album, "Check It Out", a collaboration with Trinidadian rapper Nicki Minaj, peaked at #4 on the UK Singles Chart. In February 2011, a third cut from the album, "Dance", a collaboration with Natalia Kills, peaked at #62 on the UK Singles Chart. The music video was directed by James Sutton, and features a cameo by Natalia. In April 2011, will.i.am recorded four songs for the soundtrack of the animated film Rio , in which he voiced a character. "Hot Wings (I Wanna Party)", "Drop It Low", "Real In Rio" and "Advice For The Young At Heart", featuring an array of artists including Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaway and Tears for Fears. None of the songs managed to chart, however, Will announced that he was going to remix the tracks for inclusion on Black Einstein. In September 2011, a fourth cut from the album, "Forever", a collaboration with Wolfgang Gartner, was released as a single. It was around this time that will.i.am announced that he changed the title of the album from Black Einstein to #willpower. [30] The video premiered on August 26, 2011. In November 2011, Will premiered what is intended to be the album's official lead single, "T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)", a collaboration with Jennifer Lopez and Mick Jagger. Will announced via his Twitter that the video for "T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)" was filmed in LA, and that before he returned home, he stopped off in Brazil to film the video for the album's second official single, "Great Times". In December 2011, a fifth cut from the album, "Party Like An Animal", a collaboration with Dutch singer Eva Simons & LMFAO, premiered at the HTC Beats Launch party. Will.i.am also announced he has collaborations with Britney Spears, Alicia Keys, Busta Rhymes, Swizz Beatz and a couple others on the album. He also stated there is a possibility Shakira could feature on the album. [31] #willpower is due for release in 2013, and will.i.am later confirmed that Cheryl and Justin Bieber would also appear on #willpower. [32] In mid-October, Britney Spears confirmed on her Twitter account that she had filmed the music video for the single she was featuring in called "Scream & Shout".

He was among the performers at the Diamond Jubilee Concert held outside Buckingham Palace on June 4, 2012.

The first song broadcast from Mars was his new single, "Reach for the Stars". [33] He discussed and listened to it with a live audience at NASA in Pasadena, California after it was returned from the Curiosity rover. [33]

The song "Hall of Fame" by The Script also featured will.i.am. It debuted onto radio on July 23, 2012 and was released for digital download on August 21, 2012. He later featured in Priyanka Chopra's debut single "In My City". [34] It was announced in October 2012 that will.i.am will feature on Kesha's second album Warrior on the track "Crazy Kids". He also co-wrote and co-produced the Dr Luke produced track.

In November 2012, will.i.am released the third single from #willpower which was "Scream & Shout" featuring Britney Spears. It debuted in the top 20 on the Billboard 100, eventually reaching a peak of number 3 and debuting at number 2 on the UK Singles Chart and reaching number one in January 2013 for two weeks. It went number one in many countries [35] [36]

will.i.am attending his #willpower album release party in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California on August 14, 2012 Will.i.am in 2012.jpg
will.i.am attending his #willpower album release party in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California on August 14, 2012

During an interview with Capital FM, will.i.am confirmed he had collaborated with Justin Bieber for his next release "#thatPOWER" and premiered the single on the same day it was released onto iTunes in the US the same day and debuted on the Billboard 100 at number 42.

In April 2013, will.i.am and Chris Brown's track "Let's Go", also from the #willpower album, became the centre of a copyright controversy, with trance producers Arty and Mat Zo claiming that will.i.am used elements of their 2011 track "Rebound" in his song without permission from the artists or their label. [37] This claim was later backed by Anjunabeats, the record label behind Arty and Mat Zo. [38]

His fourth studio album, #willpower, was re-released in December 2013 featuring several new tracks, including the lead single "Feelin' Myself" featuring Miley Cyrus, French Montana, and Wiz Khalifa. [39]

Britney Spears featured will.i.am on her song "It Should Be Easy" on her eighth studio album Britney Jean where he co-wrote and produced several tracks. He was also an executive producer of the project. [40] [41] [42]

On April 4, 2014, will.i.am appeared on Alan Carr: Chatty Man , where he talked about plans to release his own Smartwatch. He revealed that it can be used as a phone, to store music, and use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. [43] [44] He also showed a preview of a music video for a song called "It's My Birthday". On May 20, 2014, a 90-second snippet was uploaded to SoundCloud. It features American singer-songwriter Cody Wise, is produced by Will and Damien LeRoy and is written by himself, Cody Wise and Keith Harris. It was released on July 6, 2014. [45]

In an interview with Capital FM, will.i.am confirmed that The Black Eyed Peas were getting back together. [46] [47] On April 7, 2016 will.i.am released the single "Boys & Girls" featuring Pia Mia. A week later on April 14, a new remix of "Mona Lisa Smile" featuring Nicole Scherzinger was released.

Other ventures


The Black Eyed Peas, including will.i.am, first started acting in the commercial series "Instant Def" to advertise Snickers. [48] He starred in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa as the voice of the character Moto Moto. He contributed a number of tracks to the movie's motion picture soundtrack in collaboration with industry heavyweight Hans Zimmer. Will.i.am played John Wraith in his major film debut, X-Men Origins: Wolverine , a prequel to the X-Men film series. He also guest starred on the CBS drama Joan of Arcadia as God, one of several actors who played this role during the series. He also starred in the 2011 animated film Rio , and 2014's Rio 2 , as a rapping red-crested cardinal named Pedro, and like Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, he contributed his singing voice to the film's soundtrack, along with his fellow co-stars. Will.i.am played a fathering role in The Urbz: Sims In The City , which uses The Black Eyed Peas' songs as its own soundtrack. He briefly played himself in the Tina Fey and Steve Carell comedy film Date Night . He appeared in the 2016 Grammy-nominated documentary film about American DJ and producer Steve Aoki, titled I'll Sleep When I'm Dead . [49]

The Voice UK and Australia

On October 25, 2011, it was reported that will.i.am would be joining The Voice UK as a coach. A source said, "Will is 95 per cent a done deal. He is a big star and loves nurturing new talent. He shoots from the lip, and will not be afraid to tell it like it is. Although, I doubt The Voice will be as bitchy as The X Factor". [50] will.i.am was later confirmed as a coach on The Voice UK, of this he said, "I'm proud to be doing The Voice UK because the UK was the first place I saw success," he said. "It's the place I'm the most creative outside of home." Cohen added, "I am thrilled that will.i.am has signed up to be a coach on The Voice. He is a huge star who will bring a unique creativity to the show." [51] Talking about the differences between the show and X Factor, "I won’t be a judge on X Factor. The Voice is different. You can’t even compare the two. One, you have people in the music industry, current and legends, coaching the next generation. The other format you have judges critiquing, giving their opinions on things when they don’t really know, other than Randy Jackson on Idol". [52]

In preparation for the role as a coach, he asked advice from friend and ex-The X Factor judge Cheryl Cole. Talking to Capital FM he said, "I reached out to Cheryl for advice on keeping your cool, having a poker face, the importance of sticking with the singers – it's their dream, a lot of the times when you have other performers a part of the show, celebrities tend to want the shine so they hog up time. So my whole thing was that I want to do The Voice, but I don't want to hog up time to where the singers up there are looking like, 'Is this about you guys?'. [53] In March 2012, it was reported that he had turned his "plush" dressing room into a recording studio, and "instead of just listening with his headphones, he has installed some mega bass bins".

On November 26, 2013, will.i.am was announced as a coach for the 2014 series of the Australian version of The Voice along with fellow Voice UK judge Kylie Minogue. He was the winning coach having coached voice winner Anja Nissen in 2014. Neither will.i.am nor Minogue returned for the fourth series in 2015.

He has contributed to The Voice UK since 2012. [54] He also serves as a coach on the UK version of The Voice Kids. [55]


Before joining The Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am attended the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles. In 2001, he began designing his own signature clothing line, i.am, which made its official debut in 2005 at the Magic Apparel Trade Show in Las Vegas. [56] In 2007, will.i.am teamed up with Blue Holdings to design a premium denim collection, i.am Antik, that was scheduled to debut in August 2007 at the Project Show in Las Vegas. [57] will.i.am instead had new partners and was launching i.am. Will.i.am is currently being sued $2 million for abandoning the project for which, the label states, he was obligated until 2016, but will.i.am insists it is already over. He also launched his own glasses range. [58] [59]

Other activities

will.i.am speaking at the 2011 FIRST kickoff at Southern New Hampshire University with Dean Kamen Will I Am FIRST.TIF
will.i.am speaking at the 2011 FIRST kickoff at Southern New Hampshire University with Dean Kamen

Appearing at the kickoff event for the 2011 FIRST Robotics Competition, Logo Motion held at Southern New Hampshire University, [60] will.i.am stated that he is "a big fan", and that the newly unveiled game was "dope". He also performed a concert for FIRST at the 2011 FIRST World Championship at the Edward Jones Dome. As part of a special concert for this 2011 FIRST Robotics Championships, will.i.am appeared with the Black Eyed Peas. It was recorded for a special aired by ABC on August 14, 2011, at 7 p.m. He continues to support FIRST, and at the 2013 FIRST World Championship, will.i.am became the first recipient of the Make It Loud award, which is given to the person who has contributed the most in increasing the awareness of FIRST to the general public. [61]

In January 2011, Intel Corp. named will.i.am as director of creative innovation, with input in developing smartphones, tablets and laptops. [62] In January 2012, he appeared on the BBC TV series Top Gear, as the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, where he claimed he was starting his own car company called IAMAUTO.

By becoming the first artist to stream a song ("Reaching for the Stars") from the surface of Mars on August 28, 2012, will.i.am made inter-planetary music history. The event took place at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. [63]

Expanding his forays into iPhone accessory development, will.i.am announced plans to release a camera enhancer that will "dramatically enhance the clarity and definition of iPhone photographs," by making the 8-megapixel sensor into an effectively 14-megapixel one. Termed the i.am+, the device is said to be the first in a series of "digital real estate" for the singer. [64] In April, 2016 it was announced that i.am+ acquired Tel Aviv machine-learning technology start-up Sensiya. [65]

3DSystems appointed will.i.am as chief creative officer (CCO) on January 8, 2014, [66]

Since retiring from music, he has taken into helping assist the design of smartwatches for a Dutch company in late 2015. [67] [68] [69]

In 2016, The Verge reported that will.i.am would join actress Gwyneth Paltrow and serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk on Apple TV's Planet of the Apps , calling the trio "successful" and "big names" with experience launching companies. [70]

On July 27, 2017, i.am+ acquired Wink, the Internet of Things and Smart Home hub platform, from owner Flextronics for a reported $38.7 million with an additional $20 million commitment, likely earmarked to sustain manufacturing of Wink's products. [71]

The Institution of Engineering and Technology awarded will.i.am an Honorary Fellowship on November 15, 2017, for his outstanding contribution to the profession of engineering. [72] [73]

In early 2018, will.i.am released his first book, WaR: Wizards and Robots ( ISBN   0141360682), a collaboration with Brian David Johnson. [74]

Personal life

According to an interview with the British tabloid The Sun, will.i.am says he suffers from tinnitus, a disorder common among musicians who have been exposed to loud music for prolonged periods. [75] In April 2013, he stated that he has ADHD. [76]

As the nephew of former NFL player Lynn Cain, who played for the Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Rams, will.i.am spent a large part of his life looking up to his uncle as a role model. [77]

On June 22, 2009, gossip blogger Perez Hilton accused will.i.am and his entourage of assaulting him in Toronto after the MuchMusic Video Awards, a charge will.i.am denied in a video posted on his blog. [78] No further action was taken.

He is also a fan of Bayern München, a German football team, as he visited the Allianz Arena in Munich to watch one of their matches. He was also featured in one of Bayern’s videos on their YouTube channel.


Studio albums



2008 Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa Moto MotoVoice
2009 Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard Snow
X-Men Origins: Wolverine John Wraith
2010 Date Night HimselfCameo
Bouncing Cats
2011 Rio PedroVoice
2014 Rio 2


2001–2004, 2017 Samurai Jack Theme song singer
2005 Joan of Arcadia Three Card Monte Guy GodEpisode: "Independence Day"
2007 Cane HimselfEpisode: "A New Legacy"
2012 The Cleveland Show BernardVoice
2012–present The Voice UK HimselfCoach or "judge" and mentor for artists, Seasons 1 onwards
20122012 Television Rack AwardsHostFirst Time Hosting, 9th Time Performing
American Idol HimselfTop 12 guest mentor
Top Gear Celebrity guest
2013 Madly Madagascar Moto MotoTV Movie
2014 The Voice Australia HimselfCoach or "judge" and mentor for artists, Season 3
2017–present The Voice Kids UK Coach or "judge" and mentor for artists, Seasons 1 onwards
2017 Planet of the Apps Mentor
2019 The Rookie Episode: "The Checklist"
2019 Songland Episode: "will.i.am"

Video games

YearTitleVoice roleNotes
2004 The Urbz: Sims in the City HimselfVocals
2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine John Wraith
2011 The Black Eyed Peas Experience Himself


Awards and nominations

Daytime Emmy Awards
Grammy Awards
YearNominee / workAwardResult
2004 Elephunk Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical Nominated
"Where Is the Love?" (ft. Justin Timberlake) Best Rap/Sung Collaboration Nominated
Record of the Year Nominated
2005 "Let's Get It Started"Nominated
Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group Won
Best Rap Song Nominated
"Hey Mama"Nominated
2006 "Don't Phunk with My Heart"Nominated
Best Rap Performance by a Duo or GroupWon
"Ordinary People" Song of the Year Nominated
Best R&B Song Nominated
"Gone Going" (with Jack Johnson) Best Pop Collaboration with Vocal Nominated
"Don't Lie" Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal Nominated
2007 "My Humps"Won
will.i.am Producer of the Year, Non-Classical Nominated
"Mas Que Nada" Best Best Urban/Alternative Performance Nominated
"That Heat"Nominated
2009 "Be OK"Won
"American Boy"Song of the YearNominated
will.i.amProducer of the Year, Non-ClassicalNominated
2010 The E.N.D. Album of the Year Nominated
Best Pop Vocal Album Won
"I Gotta Feeling"Record of the YearNominated
Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with VocalsWon
"Boom Boom Pow" Best Dance Recording Nominated
Best Short Form Music Video Won


Latin Grammy Awards
Television Rack Awards
The National Television Awards
YearNominee / workAwardResult
2018 The Voice UK TV JudgeNominated
Mirchi Music Awards


  1. 1 2 Although his legal name now is William Adams, [4] the name on his birth certificate is William James Adams, which he only discovered when he was 25. [5] [6] [7]

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