The rapper-producer-entrepreneur known as will.i.am gave MSNBC viewers a close-up look Wednesday at his latest endeavors: a new smart wristband device that’s a sundial, a jacket that’s a battery, a backpack that’s a speaker, and a miniature bust of himself that could, one day, be an album.
In an interview that appeared on “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” will.i.am took MSNBC host Ronan Farrow on a tour of his The Future studio in Los Angeles and described his push to meld technology and music using artists’ inherent creativity. That includes the launch Wednesday night in San Francisco of a wearable device — a large "watch" called Puls that doesn't need a smartphone attached to it to tweet, get email or play music.
But will.i.am, frontman of The Black-Eyed Peas and co-founder of the Beats headphones company, told Ronan that he was looking far beyond. First, he showed off features of the new wearable, such as a Siri-esque assistant called Aneeda:
And lest you think that this wristband isn't large enough to let you pump up the volume, he displayed a backpack that’s actually a loudspeaker. But how to power that? With a letterman (or woman) style jacket:
But will.i.am also is looking at ways to let artists express themselves through technology. For instance, he says, why limit the idea of how an album can be presented to a download or CD?
He also envisions a future when an artist can come into a studio, write a song, record it, shoot video for it, then create a 3-D product for marketing it — all in a few days:
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