To celebrate the 2018 Grammy Awards, Mastercard hosted an intimate conversation with founding member Will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas, along with their #StartSomethingPriceless movement, which encourages consumers to pursue a passion or purpose, effect change, and lift one another up.
Lead by AJ Calloway, host of Extra, Will.i.am talked i.am+, the technology-based company he started in 2013, which creates wearable products that combine fashion and technology.
Check out a highlight from event conversation:
AJ Calloway: How did you get into the technology side because you were music, production, engineering. How did you flip this on the technology side in terms of music?
Will.i.am: Am I a musician? No. Am I a singer? Nope. I’m not a singer either; I’m an “ideas” guy and my instrument is the computer. Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock- those are great musicians. Am I producer? It all depends on what style of music you are talking about. Hip-hop producers were people that, you know hit pads and used machines. If you’re a rock producer you’re an engineer but to a hip-hop person, that person’s your engineer in studio. And then there’s an option producer- a person that takes a guy on a drum machine and engineers his option on how it should sound – he’s a producer too. I’m that perspective I’m just an ideas guy and my instrument is the computer. And because of that I always thought it was fascinating and I wanted to know the folks that made the computers. It was 2003, “Where Is the Love?” was really big. We weren’t trying to make a hit, it just became a hit because we hit the hearts of folks that were concerned about the world; having the same questions that we had. And the result of that was Apple was launching iTunes and iPods and they wanted Black Eyed Peas on this iTunes and iPods commercial. That Apple commercial changed my life and I’m a curious person, asking “how much did it cost to make this iPod?” and they said the R&D for it cost around 5 million dollars to build the first prototype. I was like “as soon as I get some money I’m going to start making some of my own shit.” And it was from that and I was changed forever.