Born William James Adam on March 15, 1975 in Los Angeles, will.i.am first launched his music career while in the eighth-grade by joining forces with his peer Dante Santiago and rapper Allan Pineda (a.k.a apl.de.ap) and performing around Los Angeles under the name Atbann Klann. In 1992, rapper Eazy-E discovered the talented trio and signed them to his label Ruthless Records. They began recording their first album Grass Roots, but were unable to release it due to the untimely death of Eazy-E in 1995. Following his death, the trio changed their name to Black Eyed Pods and swamped Jaime Gomez (a.k.a. Taboo) for Dante, before changing their name again to The Black Eyed Peas in 1997.
In that same year, the rap trio began working on their official debut album Behind the Front and later landed a record contract with Interscope Records. With the tremendous success stemming from their debut single "Joints & Jams" in 1998, the group's record deal was renewed and released their second studio album Bridging the Gap (2000). will.i.am then worked on his debut solo Lost Change, which was part of the soundtrack to the film series Loose Change (2005-2009), but the album's singles were never released.
While collaborating on their third album Elephunk in 2001, specifically the hit song "Shut Up," The Black Eyed Peas realized they needed the touch of a female's vocals, leading to a meet and greet between Fergie and will.i.am who was blown away by her powerful voice and sex appeal. By the time the album was released in 2003, Fergie was officially a part of the group and contributed to the album's success, including a #14 position on the US Billboard Top 200, #3 in the UK Album Charts, and selling more than 8.5 million copies worldwide. In 2002, will.i.am produced his second solo album Must B 21 and performed the song "Secrets" for the soundtrack to Dexter's Laboratory: The Hip-Hop Experiment.
The Black Eyed Peas' popularity shot through roof with the release of their fourth album Monkey Business (2005) that sold more than 10 million copies around the world and was certified Platinum three times. The hit singles off the album were met by tremendous air play and earned the group several Grammy nominations and a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group on behalf of "Don't Phunk with My Heart." Two years later, will.i.am produced Fergie's debut solo album The Dutchess (2006) and worked on Michael Jackson's new album before his death in 2009.
In 2007, will.i.am formed the all-girl band Paradiso Girls and released their debut album Songs About Girls in 2007, which generated three average singles, but struggled to sell more than 75,000 copies worldwide. He continued collaborating on other well-know artists' albums, including Flo Rida's debut album Mail on Sunday and Usher's fifth album Here I Stand in 2008, before pulling all his efforts and support behind Barack Obama's presidential campaign by creating a political album, Change is Now: Renewing America's Promise. The album's first single "Yes We Can" was composed of segments from Obama's 2008 New Hampshire presidential primary election follow-up speech with a celebrity filled music video, which gathered over three million YouTube views and won an Annual Creative Arts and Entertainment Daytime Emmy Award for New Approaches in Daytime Entertainment on June 12, 2008. Following the inauguration of Obama as president, will.i.am further honored the new president with the fourth single "America's Song" and his respect for Obama's criticism for Kanye West's drunken rant at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards with the album's fifth single "The Jackass Song."
Four years after releasing their fourth album Monkey Business, The Black Eyed Peas took the music world by storm for a fifth time with the release of their album The E.N.D. with the hit single "Boom Boom Pow" shooting to #1 on the UK Singles chart and the Billboard Hot 100 chart. They followed up with their sixth album The Beginning in November 2010 before announcing they were planning to break-up and will.i.am was recording another solo album, called Black Einstein, with the help of the music industry's most prominent artists, including Britney Spears, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo, Mick Jagger and Chris Brown. In November 2011, he announced he had renamed the album #willpower and it would drop in the fall of 2012.
While in France in July 2012, will.i.am sat down for an interview with NRJ radio and announced that The Black Eyed Peas would begin working on their seventh album in 2013. On November 28, 2012, the video for his solo album's fifth single "Scream and Shout," featuring Britney Spears, premiered on The X Factor in front of 8.08 million viewers. In total, will.i.am has collected one Daytime Emmy, one Latin Grammy Award and seven Grammy Awards.