Born on March 15, 1975, in Los Angeles, California, will.i.am is a hit-making solo artist and founding member of the Grammy Award-winning group the Black Eyed Peas.
The multitalented singer has also excelled as a songwriter and producer.
Outside of the music biz, will.i.am dabbles in fashion, acting, technology, business and social activism.
Will.i.am grew up in a housing project, which he described to the Daily Beast as being “raised in the ghetto, on welfare, two minutes from homeless.”
Having music as an outlet helped him look beyond his bleak surroundings. While in high school, will.i.am met Allen Pineda (stage name: apl.de.ap).
The two combined their hip-hip and break-dancing styles to form the rap group Atban Klann with several others. They were signed in 1992 to Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records label.
In 1995, will.i.am renamed the group the Black Eyed Peas. Two years later, they made it to the radio with “Request Line,” a collaboration with Macy Gray. After working with Gray, the band realized a feminine touch was missing, and singer Kim Hill temporarily joined the lineup before Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson became a permanent fixture. Her mighty vocals paved the way to stardom. Their 2003 album, Elephunk, soared thanks to the track “Where Is the Love,” featuring Justin Timberlake. With will.i.am leading the charge as front man, producer and songwriter, more hits followed, including “I Gotta Feeling,” “Boom Boom Pow” and “Let’s Get It Started.” By 2013, the foursome had sold 31 million albums worldwide and earned three Grammy Awards.