For this, the producer has teamed with a hefty roster of collaborators. DJ Ammo co-produced the song, after having worked on Black Eyed Peas‘ The Beginning, Sean Paul‘s “Touch the Sky” and Britney Spears‘ “Tik Tik Boom.” Producer Keith Harris (Robin Thicke, Madonna) helped write it. So did the song’s teenaged vocalist, Cody Wise, who has worked with Gamble & Huff (!) and will release a debut LP executive-produced by will.i.am himself, to be released on Interscope.
But the most interesting of them all may be A.R. Rahman, the Indian film composer behind Slumdog Millionaire‘s soundtrack and recent Iggy Azalea collaborator.
“Renowned for his immense range, he’ll do a traditional score for a conventional film, then blend exotic vocals with Japanese music and Western classical arrangements in his next project,” Top Chef‘s Padma Lakshimi wrote of him for the 2009 TIME 100. Before he earned international recognition (and hung out with Wale), though, Rahman would receive national acclaim for his work on the 1994 film Kadhalan. Will.i.am’s “Birthday” samples from and adapts the melody from one of the soundtrack’s songs, “Urvasi Urvasi.”
Hear “Birthday” and its inspiration, “Urvasi Urvasi,” below.