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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Apr 2014

'My dream is to sing with Asha'

Nikhil Taneja, Hindustan Times   November 20, 2008
First Published: 18:56 IST(20/11/2008) | Last Updated: 19:12 IST(20/11/2008)
The next six months will witness a virtual influx of top class acts from the international music stratosphere.

Live Earth kicks off on December 7 at the city’s Andheri Sports Complex. The chart killers who have been confirmed for the mega rock show are Bon Jovi, Anoushka Shankar and Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas. Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters (again, yah!) and oi, Leonardo DiCaprio are expected to attend.

After that, Iron Maiden arrives in February, Anastasia around June, Def Leppard and Whitesnake who had cancelled their India concerts will arrive “sometime soon.”

Will.i.am (that’s the way he spells it) of the Black Eyed Peas was interviewed by rocked-out-of-his-skull Nikhil Taneja.

‘The future of the world..is in India’

Are you clued into the Indian music scene at all?
Not much but I would really like to develop an international act here. Latin music has a Shakira and Jennifer Lopez. Americans have Fergie and Beyonce. Australians have Natalie Imbruglia. But there’s no big youth Indian music star, which is unfortunate. There is so much talent there but no one knows that.

When you come to Mumbai this year, will you sign any Indian artiste for your music label?
I’m actually looking to help produce and develop a big international Indian act.

Snoop Dogg collaborated for a song in a Bollywood movie this year. Are you planning something similar?
I don’t have any singles yet, but I am planning to do something with a friend when I get to India. I have invited my friend Sophie (Choudhary) to sing some songs with me on stage.

Any studio collaborations likely?
It’s really my dream to sing with Asha Bhosle. I would love it.. love it, love it, love it. She is a legend.

Have Indian melodies ever inspired you?
We have used some traditional Indian music in our song Don’t funk with my heart (sings the tune). There is no reason why Indian music should be confined to India. It should be heard across the world.

What makes India such an important destination that it has been chosen as the venue for the Live Earth concert?
India is very important because it is literally the centre of the world. Everything is around you guys.. South-East Asia, Middle East and east Europe on top.

How can music raise awareness about the Live Earth cause of climate change?
Music can really help save the planet. It can raise issues. Songs can touch people much more than speeches of politicians.

Please elaborate..
If a  politician were to speak in India in his or her own language, the message won’t be clear. But if I compose a song on an issue and it is a beautiful song.. and if someone sings it in India, the message has carried through, inspiring people to change.

Is that the reason for your video ––  Yes we can — used for the Barack Obama election campaign?
The motivation for the video was  Barack Obama’s speech in New Hampshire earlier this year.  The video had a  phenomenal impact.. it wasn’t even up for sale. People passed it around the Internet.

You recently released another video, A New day, after Obama won.
Until a couple of months ago, Africans, Mexicans, Cubans, Indians, all nationalities outside of Europe, were stuck at the bottom in America. But Barrack Obama has promised to execute a concept in which America will go from bottom to the top, not just in corporations and finances.. but also in politics.

In the animation movie, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, you’ve done the voice-over for a hippo and sung Big and chunky. Ever thought you’d write a song for a hippo?
(Laughs) No, I never thought that. I wrote and composed the song on the spot because I thought it was a great moment in the movie.

You are now acting in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Is acting a tough call?
Oh, acting is really hard. I’ve been such a big fan of X-Men that it’s unbelievable that I got the role. Music is always easy for me though.. since I’m just letting out what’s inside  me. (Laughs) I find interviews the hardest, actually.

You are now an established solo act. How do you keep that apart from the Black Eyed Peas music?
Though I’ve have released a solo album, I’m now more into multi-media as an artiste. I  make content that comes out of the music culture and spread it through the Internet. I have a network online, I blog and talk about issues.

Since Fergie and you have both gone solo, there are rumours about Black Eyed Peas breaking up. You’ve even called your next album The E N D.
I know about the rumours but The E N D really signifies change. It has been the end of corruption in America, the negativity in the world against America is ending..even the music industry has changed. E N D stands for Energy Never Dies.  The record should come out in March or April next year.

Where do you think India stands in the changing scenario globally?
America was a dominating force from 1900 till today. But I believe from 2000 and beyond, India will play a huge role in shaping human civilisation. The future of the world lies right there, in India.

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