He's in Australia to help sell his new solo album, #willpower, with a performance on the talent show juggernaut The Voice.
The Black Eyed Peas main man-cum-pop super-producer Will.i.am is even one of the judges on the British version of the show, in which successful artists decide whether a contestant is worthy of proceeding beyond the initial auditions on the strength of their vocal performance alone.
What does Will.i.am think of Justin Bieber?
Founding member of The Black Eyed Peas Will.i.am talks about his latest collaboration with teen sensation Justin Bieber. He is in Sydney to perform on The Voice.
Yet the irony of his appearance on such a show is not lost on the man christened William Adams.
"If I went up on The Voice or The X Factor or American Idol ... I wouldn't go through," Adams says. "They wouldn't pick me."
Doesn't that set off alarm bells for someone who, between the Black Eyed Peas and his solo career, has sold nearly 60 million singles, won seven Grammy awards and recently broke an iTunes record with the track Scream & Shout (featuring Britney Spears), which hit No. 1 in 53 countries?
"Well, no. The format's not called The Artist ... That show doesn't exist."
What, then, does Adams see as the redeeming features of a show such as The Voice?
"When you're hearing a demo, you're really not looking at a person, you're hearing ... if that person has star quality in their voice," he says. "The looks are second."
It's nothing that new, he says, citing enduring artists long known for their voices more than their looks.
"Patti LaBelle sings incredible, Aretha Franklin's voice is amazing. Now, if the record industry was only looking for, like, pencil[-thin] models, then there would never be an Aretha Franklin. If the music industry was only looking for, y'know, the physique that could wear Victoria Secrets [sic], then there would never be a Patti LaBelle.
"So this format, The Voice, is a healthy execution of what the music industry should work like."
For music fans who want the whole writing, singing, playing, dancing package in a performer, Adams suggests searching somewhere else: "It's called YouTube." For one, that's where the man who guests on the new will.i.am single, #thatPOWER, was discovered; a man Adams rates highly.
"Justin Bieber is an anomaly, there's not many people like that," he says. "They come once in a lifetime. You're lucky if it happens twice in your life, where you have a talent that is born with it and at five he's playing the drums and at, y'know, 10 he's playing the piano ... He's full of energy, full of ideas."
Bieber has had a rough run in the public eye lately, which irritates Adams.
"That's sad that [the] media will try to find anything to sell a story," he says. "If something happens to Justin, I say media fuelled it. And if they care, they should be responsible in the things that they are over-exaggerating to sell a freaking newspaper, or see people watch their blog or their news report on a young kid going into adulthood."
Will.i.am will perform #thatPOWER on The Voice on Tuesday night. The album #willpower is out now through Interscope/Universal.