will.i.am talks about solo album, politics, working with MJ, and why the Peas aren't done

Thursday, September 27, 2007

CULVER CITY, Calif. -- will.i.am has a lot on his mind, and it shows.

Sitting on the patio at his manager's house, the 32-year-old producer and Black Eyed Peas frontman changes subjects without warning, breaks into spontaneous song, imitates various accents and checks his BlackBerry constantly.

It's easy to believe him when he says he doesn't sleep or eat much. He hardly has the time. Besides being the main creative force behind the Black Eyed Peas and producing music for stars such as Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Michael Jackson, will.i.am is preparing to release his third solo album, "Songs About Girls," along with a new digital application that turns any social-networking site into an online music store. His clothing line is set to debut in the spring, he's releasing his bandmates' solo albums on his will.i.am music group label later this year, and he'll spend the first months of fall visiting more than 20 countries on the Black Eyed Peas World Tour.

Just days before the band's tour began in Jerusalem, the dreadlocked artist talked with The Associated Press about his workaholic lifestyle.

AP: How does your sound differ from the Peas'?

will.i.am: Black Eyed Peas is unique because we do all kind of (stuff). For me on this record, I don't have any collaborations, just one song with Snoop Dogg. But all the other songs it's me singing and rhyming, playing instruments and doing mostly everything. ... And it's really melodic from what I usually do with Black Eyed Peas, but it's cool. I'm really happy and proud of the record. It's pretty fresh. My mom likes it.

AP: Are you finished with the Peas?

will.i.am: No way. The Peas still got a whole lot more they can do. We got a new record coming out in November (2008).

AP: What are you releasing from your will.i.am music group?

will.i.am: The first two releases were Fergie and Macy (Gray), and then my record. Then apl's and Taboo's next, and "Black Einstein," and not the Black Eyed Peas. Oh, and I'm also doing "Madagascar," so I'll be working in the movies. I'm working on my albums. And then the Talib (Kwelis) and the Commons, and the Mariahs and the Whitneys, and the Michael Jacksons. And then I've got to run over there and do the voiceovers for "Madagascar 2." I play a hippo that falls in love with Jada Pinkett's hippo. It's awesome. And then I'm scoring the music for Hans Zimmer for it.

AP: Do you ever take time off?

will.i.am: I don't know how to take time off. ... People say the day is short. It ain't. I know I can do a lot in one day. It all depends on how you do it. Maybe I don't eat. I don't eat or drink water so my knuckles are always ashy, anyway, and my hair's brittle, but that's cool.

AP: Do you ever worry about doing too much?

will.i.am: Music is fun, you know, it's fun making music. But lately I've been thinking about some real progressive stuff, and maybe if I ever do those things, I worry about how that's going to affect things and the repercussions of that. Sometimes if you rock the boat and shed light on things, that can be bad for some people. ... Like the song that I wrote for Al Gore. We performed it on "Live Earth." It's not on YouTube anymore, you know? All the other shows from "Live Earth" are on YouTube, except for that part. So I don't know, it's cool. The lyrics were pretty heavy. (He rhymes the song a cappella.) That's on "Songs About Girls," and it's called "Mother Earth," because the ultimate girl on the planet is the planet.

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