DENVER — With Will.I.Am and Justin Timberlake, these days it's more like where isn't the love?
After lending his voice to back-to-back Black Eyed Peas albums (see "Black Eyed Peas Team Up Again With Timberlake For New LP"), JT has called on Will to produce several tracks for his upcoming sophomore solo LP (see "Justin's Talking With Hitmakers About His New LP"). And it seems their chemistry is only getting stronger.
"I love working with that dude," Will said backstage at a recent tour stop. "It's fun. It's like we're not even working. It's like, 'How did that song come out of nowhere?' There's no ego in the room, it's not like, 'Hey I produce,' 'Hey I sing.' It's like, 'That's a cool idea.' "
So far the two have finished four tracks, which "with his schedule and my schedule, for the little time we've been in the studio together, that's a lot done," Will said.
"He's pushing boundaries once again," the producer continued. "It's fresh. It's a different direction, but at the same time it's his persona and voice, it's still Justin Timberlake. Rhythmically and sonically it's all new stuff, but it's still gonna make you dance. Chicks are gonna love it. That's what's important."
Timberlake, who has focused much of his time since Justified launching an acting career (see "Justin Timberlake Goes To Court To Prep For Film Role"), has offered few details about his follow-up.
Meanwhile, JT is just one in a long list of big names Will.I.Am has been collaborating with during his little downtime with the Black Eyed Peas. In recent months, he's produced or remixed tracks for Carlos Santana, Earth, Wind & Fire, Bob Marley, the Isley Brothers, Sly & the Family Stone and, most recently, the Rolling Stones.
"We opened for the Rolling Stones in Boston and we're backstage taking pictures and I'm like, 'Wow, that's the Rolling Stones!' " Will said, explaining the roots of their collaboration. "I was [thinking], 'Ask them, ask them!' Finally I said, 'Do you guys got any remixes coming up?' Mick [Jagger] was like, 'Yeah, sure, there's this one song, "Rain Fall Down," we'll get you the ProTools files.' Yeah right."
Sure enough, the files showed up a few days later and Jagger followed up with a phone call, during which the Stones frontman prodded an idea out of the nervous Will and gave him the go ahead.
"I got off the phone kinda jittery, all the things he's done," Will said. "But he said the direction was cool, so might as well do it. ... I flew out to L.A. to put the bass line on. Flew to New Zealand to put the guitars on. Recorded the tambourines in Australia. The whole song was compiled in different hotel rooms."
After requesting a different drum sound, Jagger gave his approval. "He's like, 'We're filming the video on Friday, can you be in the video?' " Will recalled with a smile. (The video is expected later this year.)
Also coming down the pipeline for Will.I.Am is a solo album and several projects for his I.Am Music label, including Peas singer Fergie's solo album and new records from Macy Gray and Brazilian star Sergio Mendes. For the latter, Will got to work with another one of his music heroes, Stevie Wonder, which leaves only one more name on his wish list.
"Sade, I'd love to work with Sade," he said.
As for how he manages to get so much done, Will credits modern technology and the fact that he can carry a basic recording studio on his laptop.
"I don't have a day off," he said. "Every day is booked solid. If it isn't the studio, it's touring, if it's not touring it's a video shoot, if it's not a video shoot it's some type of marketing meeting about organizing something."