Page last updated at 20:57 GMT, Saturday, 3 May 2008 21:57 UK

Talking Shop: Will.i.am

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Will.i.am answers a quickfire round on hats, singing and Jacko. Features his new single Heartbreaker, courtesy of Universal.

Hip-hop star Will.i.am is one of the most in-demand musicians in the world.

Aside from his chart-topping hits with the Black Eyed Peas, he has recorded with the likes of Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey and the Pussycat Dolls.

Now, he is releasing his second solo single, Heartbreaker, which features Cheryl Cole on guest vocals.

The singer, rapper and producer talks about hooking up with the Girls Aloud star and acting with Hugh Jackman.


Heartbreaker was already on your album - why did you decide to re-record it with Cheryl?

The idea was a good idea. Someone at the record company brought up her name, and I was like: "Can I meet her?"

Because you don't want to be the stubborn knucklehead at the label who says: "I'm an artist, man. I ain't doin' that".

The meeting obviously went well.

I hung out with her and I was like: "Wow - she's cool"; I heard her sing and I was like: "Wow, she's dope"; I saw her dance - "Wow, she's fresh".

She's going through the things she's going through. I've been through that, and that's what the song's about. So I said: "It's perfect. Let's do this."

What's the difference between recording solo material and working with the Black Eyed Peas?

I don't have to wait for people to come to the studio to finish the song!

I write the same way - writing is writing. I just have to finish the song all by myself.

Black Eyed Peas on stage
The Black Eyed Peas' hits include My Humps and Where Is The Love?

The first track on the album has an ELO sample. Are you a fan?

Those guys were pretty freakin' crazy, dude! I don't know if anyone can touch that type of production. Electric Light Orchestra. I mean, wow!

I was surprised at how much you sing on the album.

I didn't want to do a rap record talking about my emotions. I wanted to be melodic and pull the emotion out through melody rather than rapping: "Yo, I'm sorry I didn't really mean to hurt you, I didn't really mean to desert you."

Speaking of raps... One of the Black Eyed Peas songs has the line: "When you hate you're bound to get irate." Can you remember what comes next?

Oh that's Where Is The Love? Um, is it: "That's the way anger works and operates?"

Close, that's the line after.

I gotta go from the top. [He mumbles the first few lines then picks up] "To discriminate only generates hate, and when you hate you're bound to get irate, yeah, man that's what you demonstrate, and that's the way anger works and operates."

I don't know how to go in the middle of it. I gotta know the first word!

Have you ever forgotten your lyrics on stage?

One time we were on stage and [bandmate] Apl was like: "I forgot my rap! I forgot my rap! What's my first word?!"

I was like: "Dude, it's going to come to you - just don't think about it. Dude, we're on stage!"

Will.i.am and Cheryl Cole
Cole was filming a documentary in the US when she met the singer

At that point, don't you just hold your microphone out and shout: "You sing!"

Yes, you can do that. But it's just the panic. If you forget one rap, your brain automatically goes into freak-out mode.

I don't know it by heart. The lyrics are probably in lot 25 of my brain, and I usually park my car in lot one.

You star in the new Wolverine film alongside Hugh Jackman - do you have trouble remembering your lines there?

No, that's easy because you're going off of the emotion. I don't want to tell you a specific scene, but they'll say: "Okay, we're picking up from mid-argument" and we just go. Rapping is different because it's rhyme and rhythm.

Have you enjoyed the filming?

It just doesn't seem real for some reason. Maybe it's because I'm sleepy.

Even working with Michael Jackson seemed real, even though it was, you know, surreal, but the Wolverine thing seems like a big dream.

When will we get to hear the songs you recorded with Michael?

The new stuff? Um, I don't know... Can you switch that tape recorder off...

Heartbreaker is released on 5 May. Will.i.am was speaking to BBC News entertainment reporter Mark Savage.


SEE ALSO
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