The Voice UK: will.i.am on The X Factor, coaching and getting on in music

The producer and Black Eyed Peas rapper shares his thoughts on the new BBC1 talent show and more...

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Why did you want to be part of The Voice? 

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I like discovering new talent and helping them launch careers, like I have just done for a band called LMFAO. 

You helped Cheryl Cole during the judges’ houses round on The X Factor a couple of years ago — do you watch it? 

No. I like performing on it and I like when the real talent emerges. I don’t like it when they use acts for comedy value when they don’t deserve the exposure. We don’t do that. 

What do you bring as a coach? 

I am the only one with my own label, who performs and produces and has developed a group. The others may be experienced and fun and alternative but I am global. 

What was your earliest musical influence? 

My mum played a lot of Earth Wind and Fire and the Isley Brothers at home, and then gospel when we went to church. 

First album you bought? 

My mum bought me a cassette player for Christmas when I was nine, with an album called Escape by Houdini. It was the best thing I had ever heard. That’s when I realised that I wanted to sing for the rest of my life. 

What do you consider your big break? 

Jimmy Iovine discovered the Black Eyed Peas and signed us in 1997. We had been playing shows and started a real underground buzz in California and he heard about us. 

What is the best advice you can pass on? 

Tenacity — it can get you anywhere.

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The Voice UK is on BBC1 Saturday at 7:00pm