Bidder forks out for time with will.i.am

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A recording session with will.i.am sold at auction for £16 000 on Saturday night.

The Black Eyed Peas star offered a two-hour studio session for a lucky bidder as part of a fundraising evening for his bandmate Apl.de.Ap, who hosted a gala dinner to raise money for the Apl.de.Ap Foundation's We Can Be Anything campaign.

Even though The Voice star offered two hours of his time he promised to keep working with the winner until they were happy with their work.

Taking to the stage to introduce the lot at London's Westbury Hotel, he said: “The last time we did something like this, it was for my charity. And the session didn't last just for two hours, it lasted all night. We'll keep going until it's done.”

Despite the high price tag, the recording session's sale price was beaten by the £25 000 paid for a trip to the Philippines with Apl.de.ap including dinner with the President of the Philippines, and the bid prompted will.i.am to recall the first time he visited his bandmate's home country after years of promising to go there.

He said: “I experienced this with Apl. He came to the US from the Philippines and he didn't speak English.

“And he met me, and as teenagers, with your best friend, when you miss someone and he's crying and saying he wanted to go home, you don't know how to answer that, so you say, 'We'll go there, don't worry.'

“And time passed and we never went. Until we were 27 and we went the Phillippines with the band. The army was there, and the president was there because he'd done something no one else from the Phillippines had. He came back a hero.

“We went the second time and went to his village and it all made sense - we are as we are because of Apl.

“We went to his village and it was beautiful and rural at the same time. There's a sense of community and origin, they look to him like 'We can do it because you did it’.”

Other lots auctioned at the event - which also saw performances from the evening's host Adam Garcia and The Feeling frontman Richard Jones - included a walk-on part in the forthcoming Nina Simone biopic and a luxury break to Thailand.

As the auction wrapped, guests were treated to a surprise performance from Apl.de.Ap and will.i.am - who had been flown by helicopter to the deliver the keynote speech at the event after The Voice live show - of Black Eyed Peas hits including I Gotta Feeling and Time Of My Life.

The pair then headed to an afterparty at Project nightclub to celebrate the evening's success.

The We Can Be Anything Campaign is a joint advocacy of the Apl.de.Ap Foundation and Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation. The goal is to raise funds to build 10 000 classrooms all over the Philippines within two years in one of the country's biggest ever education reform projects. - Bang Showbiz


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