• By Finsok
  • 21 Jan, 2023

  • 7 min read

Here’s who will.i.am turns to for advice on big business

Here’s who will.i.am turns to for advice on big business

Hip-hop artist and tech investor will.i.am has a large digital database of business leaders that he often turns to for advice on his various endeavors.

These mentors include names such as Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Oprah Winfrey, music legend MC Hammer, venture capitalist Ron Conway, and Beats investor Jimmy Iovine.

“Marc Benioff is my big brother and mentor,” will.i.am told Yahoo Finance Live at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland this week (video above). “I love Mark.”

Will.i.am host and honoree Marc Benioff attend the will.i.am i.am.angel Foundation TRANS4M 2017 Gala on February 9, 2017 in Hollywood. (Photo by Jarod Harris/Getty Images for the i.am angel foundation)

According to will.i.am, Oprah has been another positive influence in the music artist’s life as her legendary talk show is part of how he was able to launch his solo career and present his I Am scholarship.

“I love her,” will.i.am said. “That’s where I went to start my foundation on her show. She pushes me to get the best out of myself. I am blessed to have a wonderful network of people who keep me on the right track and push me to solve problems. “

Other Yahoo Finance reports on Davos 2023:

“The guy who really saw the spark in me”

Fame, wealth and natural curiosity have led will.i.am into the world of business and investment. Before that, however, he was born William Adams in Los Angeles in 1975 and grew up on modest means.

Will.i.am eventually rose to fame in the late 1990s and early 2000s as a member of the Black Eyed Peas, which sold over 58 million singles worldwide.

He was an early investor in headphone maker Beats, raising an undisclosed amount when Apple (AAPL) acquired the company for $3 billion in 2014, and also partnered with Intel (INTC) to promote various hardware.

Many of these endeavors have come about through the connections that will.i.am has made over the years.

Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas performs at Expo 2020 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on January 25, 2022.  REUTERS/Christopher Pike

Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas performs at Expo 2020 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on January 25, 2022. REUTERS/Christopher Pike

“MC Hammer is the dude who hooked me up with Ron Conway,” will.i.am said. “Jimmy Iovine is the guy who really saw the spark in me. They are my favorites.”

Oprah’s close friend, journalist Gail King, is also will.i.am’s mentor, as he has stated that he loves her “like an aunt”.

Will.i.am is now a WEF regular and dedicated this year’s event to discussing the future of technology, in particular artificial intelligence. He is a member of the Industrial Revolution Advisory Committee of the World Economic Forum and the Global Alliance for Artificial Intelligence.

On Thursday, he had a group lunch with mentor Benioff and Williams-Sonoma CEO Lara Alber, among other distinguished guests.

“I’m lucky to have a wonderful network of people who keep me on the right track and push me to solve problems,” said will.i.am.

Brian Sozzi is the editor-in-chief and Lead at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and beyond LinkedIn.

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