On April 23, to celebrate the release of his fourth solo album, Willpower, will.i.am joined collaborators Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus and Nicole Scherzinger in a live Google+ Hangout on his illwilly YouTube channel.
Spears, who joins Will on tracks such as "Scream & Shout," "Big Fat Bass" and "Femme Fetale," is quick to sing his praises: "I think he just gets our generation of people and what they want to hear musically."
Speaking of working with Will on the "Scream & Shout" music video, she says, "It's probably one of the coolest experience I've ever had. It's a totally different thing to be on camera with Will than in the studio. His energy is electric."
There have also been rumors that Will is the Executive Producer of Britney's new album. To these, Will says, "I can't confirm or deny, but I can say that whatever I end up doing on Britney's eighth album is being taken with real, real serious care." He adds, "I think me and Britney need to have conversations about life and then take those conversations together and turn them into songs. How do we make it personal where it bleeds from the heart?" He reveals, "We've been doing that."
Will says of his album title, which Dr. Dre helped him come up with, "Willpower, for me, is the ability to keep your dream going, to withstand any hate or people trying to put you down for being unique or individual." He adds, "Whatever it is you want to do or contribute to life, willpower is the ability to stay strong and weather that storm."
The hip hop artist also cites "gangsta geeks" as his inspiration for going to school to learn computer science and how to code. He'll combine programming, fashion, music and more into building up the will.i.am brand.
Nicole Scherzinger is not shy about attributing much of her success and drive in the music industry to will.i.am, even admitting to stalking him during the time the Black Eyed Peas were forming. "Pretty much Will and God have been the authors of my life," she says.
According to Will, Scherzinger was supposed to be the original female voice in the Black Eyed Peas, but her then boyfriend disapproved. Now, she's enjoying her own solo career and working with Will on tracks like "Far Away From Home." They also collaborated on the Disney-inspired tune, "Mona Lisa Smile," which Will says was partially recorded in the Louvre right next to Da Vinci's famous painting of Mona Lisa.
"If she were in the 21st century with us, who would she be going out with?" Scherzinger says of their modern interpretation. "My voice is like her spirit, the spirit and soul of Mona Lisa," she says of providing the Italian operatic vocal track.
Miley Cyrus also joins in for her first ever live chat online, sharing the experience of working on "Fall Down" with Will.
Will calls the orchestral end of "Fall Down" his favorite part of the whole record. "It just feels epic, like Quincy Jones just sneezed on it." He also takes the opportunity to tease Miley's upcoming album: "I'm so blessed to have collaborated with Miley before everyone just gets melted by the wonderfulness."
The Hangout's final guest, Interscope Records co-founder, major music producer, and American Idol mentor Jimmy Iovine, has been working with Will since 1997. "I knew that we would always make records together," he says. "I've never said that to anyone before, to be honest, and probably never said it since." He adds, "He's a true contemporary artist. He has the technical side and he has the creative side."
"He's finally made the right solo record for himself that incorporates the best of the Peas, but yet some new artists," Iovine says. "He's made a very cool album."