Will.i.am has confirmed to Rolling Stone that he will be acting as executive producer on Britney Spears' forthcoming album, her eighth. The producer and Black Eyed Peas frontman, whose new solo effort, #willpower, debuted at number nine on the Billboard Top 200 today, said that he is a few months into the process of working on her album.
"After I did a song on Femme Fatale – 'Big Fat Bass' – and then we did 'Scream & Shout,' she really liked the way we worked because of my approach," will.i.am told said last night at a Levi's event in Hollywood celebrating his sustainable-product program Ekocycle. "So they asked me to be involved in, not producing and writing every song, but to be an executive producer on the songs."
Although will.i.am wouldn't confirm who those other songwriters and producers will be, he did mention that Spears "really liked Diplo," who has been rumored to be involved in the album. The producer hopes this album will reflect who Spears is as a person rather than an artist, and he's been actively spending time getting to know her on a more intimate level to ensure that can happen.
"I was like, 'OK, look, guys, me and Britney need to have lunch four times a month for three months before I even try to go in the studio with her,'" will.i.am said. "Because we need to talk. We need to talk about what she's excited about in life. I gotta talk about the things that hurt her. I gotta talk about the things that make her concerned – she's a mother. I gotta talk to her about all the things that her fans want to talk to her about. I gotta be the vehicle between her and her fans." He added, "We can't do another song about going on the dance floor. Really? Didn't we see a bunch of Britney doing that already? Don't we want to see something that comes from her heart?"
The producer and Spears have now had almost three months' worth of lunches, and they had a session yesterday that will.i.am called "amazing." Although he was unable to offer any sense of a timeline on the album's release, he suggested that the production on his end is moving along fairly quickly.
The producer will also release a follow-up single to his current Justin Bieber-featured number "#thatPOWER," but won't confirm which track that will be except to say that its video will be "pretty sick." And although will.i.am has several solo tour dates booked through the summer, he may not be bringing #willpower around the U.S. anytime soon.
"I'll probably be on a real tour in September," the producer said. "But I don't know if I'm gonna tour America. I'll tour everywhere else, but not the States. It's a weird place to tour." He added, "It's gonna be cool. [But] I don't want to reveal how I tour."
Meanwhile will.i.am, honored last night for his collaboration with Levi's 501 on a pair of jeans created from plastic Coca-Cola products, has numerous other projects on the table. Those include ongoing work with his i.am.angel and i.am.scholarship programs.
"I want kids to go to school, but I don't want to kids to go to school and have debt after they graduate," he explained of his motivation for i.am.scholarship, to which Levi's contributed $10,000 last night. "How can I send kids to college where all they have to do is focus on becoming entrepreneurs? So when they graduate not only are they looking for jobs – they're creating jobs."