will.i.am Producing For Jacko

will.i.am Producing For Jacko

Black Eyed Peas principal will.i.am was ubiquitous behind the boards in 2006, producing tracks for Justin Timberlake, Fergie, Snoop Dogg and Nas and earning a producer of the year Grammy nomination. But his sights are now set on Michael Jackson's comeback album, which is tentatively due before the end of the year on the Bahrain-based Two Seas Records.

will.i.am tells Billboard.com he has been doing "a lot of talking on the phone, a lot of brainstorming" with Jackson so far. Their conversations, he says, involve more than just music but also figuring out how Jackson can use new technology, particularly social networking sites and download outlets, to his advantage.

But Jackson's next musical direction remains a primary concern. "Man, he still sings like a bird," will.i.am says. "He could go anywhere. I think we have a real opportunity to do something here. It's either gonna be really big or nobody's gonna care. Ain't no middle ground on this one."

"I like what he is doing and thought it would be interesting to collaborate or just see how the chemistry worked," Jackson told Access Hollywood of will.i.am in October. "I think he's doing wonderful, innovative, positive, great music."

As previously reported, Akon is also rumored to be collaborating on the album but told Billboard.com last month that he was not at liberty to disclose details. Chris Brown is also in talks to work on the Jackson album, which will be his first since 2001's "Invincible."

 
"We got a chance to meet at the World Music Awards and we're talking to his management about when we can set up a date to be working on his album," Brown tells Billboard.com. "It would be an honor and a blessing for me to work with my idol. He's one of the reasons I do my music."

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