If you’ve ever wondered about will.i.am’s creative process, a new four-part web series premiering today on Lexus’ LStudio.com has some interesting answers. For The Sessions Project: will.i.am, the Black Eyes Peas’ frontman and producer was interviewed by photographer Norman Seeff, who directs the web series that will be reshaped into an hour-long special on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network later this year. A new episode will premiere on LStudio every Tuesday for the next three weeks. Here’s what we learned from fairly fascinating episode 1, which you can also watch here:
• When a melody comes to him, he calls it “breaking the code” because it’s something that people from different walks of life will be able to appreciate and hum
and curse him for.
• It’s like songs come to him from the future, because as he writes one, he feels like he already knows it. He could be writing for 10 hours, but it will feel like two minutes.
• His mother bought him a JVC radio and a Whodini tape when he was 13. That’s when he realized you could rap if you couldn’t sing. For Christmas when he 14, his mother rented a double cassette deck with a turntable on top, and he learned how to manipulate music. “I would take the record, her Sly and the Family Stone or Earth, Wind & Fire, you know, press record, and then right when it gets to the part I don’t like, I pause it, rewind it, do it again, and I’ll make a three-minute loop out of the cassette deck. Then I take that loop, put it over there on that tape deck, and then rap over that,” he says.
• He recorded over the Barbie and the Rockers tape his sister got for Christmas. She cried, he got in trouble with his mother, and he made amends by asking his sister to be his first girl singer (“the first Fergie”). His first song was “The Chill Dance,” which he still remembers. His sister was shy, but their mother made her perform it with him for family.
• As fate would have it, “Who was the girl who sung the Barbie and the Rockers commercial? It was Fergie,” he says. “How crazy is that? Come on, dude, that’s not coincidence … So that only means that the future me now made me record that and do that then, if you believe in interconnectivity and the absence of time.”
• When people talk, he hears musical patterns. “Say for example, you’ve got a girlfriend, right? And you’re fightin’ right. And she says something like, ‘You’re a freakin’ A–HOLE’. I’m like, ‘What did you say? That is dope.’ [Plays the rhythm of her insult on an air guitar].”