Black Eyed Peas bandleader will.i.am hails Latin music the new pop
Black Eyed Peas bandleader will.i.am has spoken about his pride at having a No1 Latin single with "Ritmo" and hailed the genre for becoming a mainstream success on its own terms.
The Black Eyed Peas had their first Latin chart-topper with "Ritmo" featuring J Balvin from the "Bad Boys For Life" movie soundtrack last year, whilst their new album, "Translation", features a host of Latin stars - including "Hips Don't Lie" hitmaker Shakira and Madonna's collaborator Maluma.
And "The Voice UK" coach has admitted Latin artists have waited a long time to get the mainstream success they deserve without conforming to what America deems popular.
Speaking to the Daily Star newspaper's Wired column, the Black Eyed Peas bandleader said: "Latin music is the new pop.
"I'm so happy that Latinos and Latinas are shining their light and cultural colour on the whole world.
"To have this opportunity to compete and have our songs played all over the world, especially in the Latin community, is special.
"Black Eyed Peas is all about cultural exchange."
He continued: "If you think about Latin artists of the past, they had to change a lot of their culture to make it in America or Europe.
"That's what I like about today, nobody is altering things for American success.
"When you think of global success you think it has to be through the gates of America, that is no longer a myth.
"Black Eyed Peas have known that as Americans.
"In 1998 we toured America but didn't see success until we left America.
"We were doing what J Balvin was doing but on the flip side.
"Now you hear people like J Balvin everywhere - China, France, Australia - places that don't speak Spanish, it is international."
The 'Where is the Love?' hitmaker admitted it's an extremely competitive world to be in, which is why having a Latin No1 is the highest accolade.
He said: "It's one thing to have a Latin No1 but it just so happens Latin is the highest consumed music so we are competing at the highest volume."
The studio wizard - who has produced records for the likes of Britney Spears and Pussycat Dolls - insisted that the best thing about being in Black Eyed Peas is making music for people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy.
He added: "We take pride in making records that appeal to different demographic, all walks of life can enjoy.
"No matter how old you are we make sensitive music that makes you feel good."