INTERVIEW | will.i.am
will.i.am is a multi-faceted entertainer and creative innovator. He found global success as one of the founding members of The Black Eyed Peas, who have sold 31 million albums and 58 million singles worldwide.
He is the recipient of seven Grammy Awards, eight American Music Awards, a Billboard Music Award, a Teen Choice Award, two MTV Video Music Awards and three World Music Awards. He is also the first recording artist to have sent a song to Mars as part of NASA’s Curiosity Mars Space Lab project in August 2012.
How does it feel to be back working on The Voice UK?
I feel up for it. My foresight tells me that it’s going to be an amazing show. For instance, we have Rita Ora joining the show.
Have you missed The Voice?
I missed The Voice UK. It’s one of the best places to be on earth. While there is an amusement park that claims to be the happiest place on earth, I think that The Voice UK is really the happiest place.
What’s so special about The Voice?
The Voice format is really about nothing but the voice. That’s what’s so special about the blind auditions. I know that sounds redundant and kind of cliché, but it’s the honest truth.
What’s it like sitting in that chair?
It is heart-wrenching, especially when you don’t want to have to say goodbye to someone. Often you say, hey you seem a bit nervous. Doh! You don’t know how long they have been stressing. Maybe they didn’t sleep, tossing and turning as they were kind of anxious. Now I think, what if I was in that situation? What if that was my last chance? What if I was down on my luck and this is the last chance to get my career going? We don’t know the backstories to their lives when they perform for us so we have to be careful.
How do you know when to hit your button?
I know when to hit the button when someone is singing with emotion. You can do three things: sing perfectly, sing with emotion or sing with personality. Anything else is flat, sharp or boring.
What is it like to have Rita Ora join The Voice?
I’m very proud of Rita. I’ve known Rita since 2008 when we recorded together. She was concerned about coming on The Voice. She asked me before she joined: ‘What do I have to tell these singers?’ I was like, are you kidding Rita? There’s people that haven’t had a record out. There are people who look to you and want what you have achieved.
What kind of coach do you think Rita will be?
Rita has that special pizzazz that is infectious, you want to be around it. My gut tells me there’s going to be some fights around the girls. Because girls are going to want to automatically go with Rita.
With all the success you’ve had, are you still in awe of Sir Tom?
I’m in awe with Tom as an accomplisher because he’s achieved longevity, Sir Tom Jones is longevity. Not many people in the music industry have that type of career length. It’s incredible. Tom Jones is beyond legend, he’s a monument.
What has it been like to work with Ricky Wilson?
Ricky is awesome! He blew me over, he is so full of life. It’s good, he adds a lot. I’m honoured to be on the panel with him.
How important is a good Voice pitch?
It’s important, all four of us have different tactics and I have faith Rita is going to be even more outgoing than the three of us, but right now it’s about the anti-pitch. That’s my new mode, I turn around and when they ask me what I would offer them I will say, I don’t know, what would you want me to do for you? It’s more of a, you tell me what you want and I’ll make it.
What are you looking for this year?
This year I am looking for a demolisher. I’m looking for a disrupter, a wrecking ball. Not a girl with a g-string on a wrecking ball (even though I love Miley) I’m just looking for somebody really different to come knock down the walls.