“(2009’s) ‘The E.N.D.,’ right now, is the work that I’m most proud of, and this is just as special as ‘The E.N.D.’,” will.i.am tells Billboard.com about “#willpower,” which is due out this fall. ” ‘#willpower’ has been a journey, and I’m proud of the journey to get all the songs I have right now and the work I did to get all the songs for this record.”
will.i.am estimates that he worked on 200-300 songs, of which about a dozen will appear on the final album. And, he adds, that probably won’t include recent singles such as “T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)” with Mick Jagger and Jennifer Lopez and “Check It Out” with Nicki Minaj and Cheryl Cole. “I just always want to put out songs. They don’t necessarily have to be part of an album,” he explains. “Those are just songs to let people know along the way what I’m working on. That’s me having an audio, musical conversation with the public.”
So what will be on “#willpower?” “There’s classical shit, like just me and a guitar and an orchestra or me with just an orchestra and a kid’s choir,” he says. “There’s some ghetto, ugly, dirty stuff. And then there’s dance stuff, global world stuff and, like, avant garde, left-of-center, for-art’s-sake music that has nothing to do with getting played on the radio. I’m just art-ing out. It’s pretty diverse.” Guests on the album, he adds, will include Justin Bieber, LMFAO, Ne-Yo and Nicole Scherzinger, among others.
Meanwhile, will.i.am was thrilled to work with Dutch dance music diva Eva Simons on his new single, “This is Love,” a mix of melodic pop and EDM whose “Hell yeah!” refrain he recorded during a New Year’s Eve show this year in Las Vegas. “Eva Simons is, hands down, the princess of dance music,” says will.i.am, who filmed a video for the song in London. “She was doing it way before everyone was doing it, and she produces her own self. She picks her own effects. She records herself. We have conversations like, ‘So what compressors do you use?’ She sings wonderfully, she writes wonderfully, she’s sexy. She is the real thing. It’s exactly what dance music is about. That’s why I’m so happy and honored to be working with her.”
will.i.am says the Black Eyed Peas remain on hiatus — “The other want to take breaks. I don’t know how to take breaks” — but he promises that “we’re definitely going to put (another) record out, just no idea when.” Meanwhile, he’s thinking about some sort of tour to promote “#willpower,” although he acknowledges that the specter of the Peas looms large over that prospect.
“What I have going against me is everybody saying, ‘Where the other three people at?’ ” will.i.am explains. “I can’t just go out with a bunch of background dancers to make up for the fact Fergie, Ap and Taboo aren’t there. So I have to come up with a different idea and invent something to make people say, ‘Dang, that was better than what you were doing with the Peas!’ That won’t be easy, but if I can’t do that, I’m staying home.”