Will's World: Peas Member Starts Label, Plots Solo CD
Black Eyed Peas principal will.i.am has established his own will.i.am music group, a joint venture with A&M/Interscope. The label will officially launch with the Feb. 14 release of Sergio Mendes'Black Eyed Peas principal will.i.am has established his own will.i.am music group, a joint venture with A&M/Interscope. The label will officially launch with the Feb. 14 release of Sergio Mendes' "Timeless." That album, which features many of Mendes' classic tunes revamped, is a collaboration between will.i.am music group, Concord and Starbucks Hear Music. Other acts coming out on the new label include Macy Gray and Peas singer Fergie.
Will.i.am vows to be hands-on far beyond just grooming and producing talent. "My ultimate goal is bigger than me putting [a record] out on my label," he tells Billboard. "I want to make sure the product is marketed correctly. For records to succeed and impact lifestyle it takes more than just a producer's mind, it takes a person who understands the marketplace and the consumer and a person who is participating in the lifestyle."
Indeed, will.i.am stresses that he is forming a music company, not just a pipeline for traditional albums. "To say I'm just going to make records is limiting the realms of people's imaginations," says will.i.am, who houses all of his ventures including his clothing line under his Los Angeles based company, will.i.am global.
The idea, he says, is to embrace all forms of technology. "I can record in an airplane, I can record backstage in a show, at an airport lobby, in the bullet train going from Yokohama to Tokyo," he says. "The model of what my label is has to complement the radical freedom of how the records are made."
As the Peas prepare for their first North American headlining run as part of the Honda Civic Tour, will.i.am is busy with myriad musical projects. Among them is his first major-label solo album, which he expects to begin recording in June for release sometime in 2007.
"I'm not far at all on it, but here's three songs that didn't make the Black Eyed Peas record ['Monkey Business'] that I want to put on it," he says. "There's one song called 'This Ain't Living.' The pre-chorus goes, 'Waking up to go to work / go to work to get paid / get paid to pay bills / pay bills to live well / house and a car lease / pay it 'til you're deceased / tell me what it is you gain / man, that sh*t don't mean a thing / This ain't living."
The artist is "producing the majority" of the Fergie album, which he says is almost done. "Here she is, a chick amongst three hyperactive dudes," he notes. "You applaud any chick that has the balls to do that. And here she comes with her solo project, and she's smacking you upside the head. She's letting people know she can hold her own on her own as well. It's fresh."
In addition, will.i.am will spend the next several weeks in the studio with Snoop Dogg, P. Diddy and Nas, working on material for each artist's next album.