The Lyrical Life of will.i.am

What gets the entertainer’s adrenaline flowing
September 2, 2014

A modern renaissance man, will.i.am is an entertainer, business consultant, entrepreneur, philanthropist and all-around lover of life. He’s even his own web address. Just type in will.i.am, he requires no www or dot-com.

In interviewing for our October cover story (on newsstands Sept. 9), The Black Eyed Peas’ frontman shed more light on what makes him an original than we could fit in print—his philosophies, what gets his adrenaline flowing, his views on the future and more. Here, in his own words, is will.i.am…

I think I always... had a positive view of myself. When I was 9 or 10 years old, we were in a class where we all sat in a circle and talked about what we liked about ourselves. And I said that I was William the Wizard, and that my friends liked me because I helped people. And I always liked being part of a group.

I thrive on… obstacles. I love it when the clock is running out. The adrenaline gets pumping and the best comes out of me—songs, problems—I like being under pressure.

If I wanted… to sell tequila, the companies would make it so easy, and they would pay me so much. Doing good is what’s complicated. It’s hard, and it costs so much.

The creators of tomorrow… are the Davids of today. The Goliaths are the big corporations. They have no connection to what’s really going on. They’re still making TV ads and putting up billboards, even though no one is looking at them. Tomorrow isn’t about marketing; it’s about community, about widening the state of wellness in communities. It’s about the people you want to be, and to be with.

Not everything… is supposed to work. You can’t be afraid to make mistakes. You can’t be afraid to fail. If you are, you’ll lose everything.

I don’t think that I have… any regrets. Nothing profound. I trust that the people I work with have enough momentum and love to see through the work we’ve started. For me to feel that I have to be on hand to see it succeed is a selfish thing.

Things are so… divisive, and I don’t know why. It’s obvious that there are things we should do, and I don’t know why we don’t. Immigration reform, for example. We’re only hurting ourselves. We need a smarter immigration policy, and we used to have one. That’s how we got Nikola Tesla. Albert Einstein! NASA! Detroit wouldn’t have been Detroit! This makes no sense at all.

I’m not a… creature of habit, knock on wood.

Read how will.i.am turns imagination into profit in SUCCESS magazine, on newsstands Sept. 9.

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