William James Adams Jr. who later took up the nickname will.i.am as his stage name was a boy with strong determination. Born on March 15, 1975, he was raised by his mother who became his No. 1 fan since Day 1 and encouraged him to explore his talent and pursue his musical career by sending him to public schools in affluent West Los Angeles.
While in high school, he became friends with apl.de.ap and later they formed a group with three other people. They began performing from stage to stage in Los Angeles under the name of Atban Klann and caught the attention of Compton rapper Easy-E who signed them to Ruthless Records. After several lineup changes, they finally became The Black Eyed Peas with Stacy Ferguson and Taboo joining the mix.
They got a huge break with their single "Where's the Love" and later become a big force in music scene with a number of hit singles on the chart and one of them "I Gotta Feeling" being one of the best selling songs of all time. Their commercial success was sweetened by their critical acclaims. They landed multiple Grammy nominations and won some of them, not to mention many other accolades from other awards shows like Kids Choice Awards and MTV Video Music Awards.
Between dedicating his energy to the group, will.i.am took some time out to record solo albums. Three CDs "Lost Change", "Must B 21" and "Songs About Girls" were already in the market, and one is coming very soon. Embracing today's social media pop culture, he's releasing hashtag album "#willpower".
Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Chris Brown, Britney Spears, Skylar Grey and Nicole Scherzinger among others were listed as featured guests. Getting relatively-positive reviews from music critics, he's expected to make a notable debut on the chart marking his breakout as a solo musician.
Behind the scene, he helped produce music for the likes of Michael Jackson, Bieber, Spears, U2, Rihanna, Usher, Justin Timberlake, Earth, Wind & Fire, Nicki Minaj, Cheryl Cole, Nas, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Daddy Yankee. For his work as producer, he won Best Brazilian Contemporary Pop Album with artist Sergio Mendes for "Timeless".
In 2010, BMI presented the BMI President's Award to will.i.am in recognition of his work as an artist, producer, and humanitarian. The honor is bestowed on an individual who has distinctly and profoundly influenced the entertainment industry.