will.i.am is "hopeful" that Britney Spears will return to the music business.
The 42-year-old pop superstar - who regained control of her multimillion-dollar fortune and various aspects of her life when a conservatorship arrangement she had been locked in for 13 years was terminated in 2021 - has not released an album since 2016's 'Glory' and has previously vowed to never perform again, but Will is sure that she will be back.
Speaking on The Sunday People's 'Invite Only' podcast, he said: "I really adore and appreciate Britney. Is she on a break? You can’t be on a break if you listen to music every day and it brings you joy.
"She’s just in a different position at the moment, but her relationship with music is as genuine as it gets. It’s the most honest that I’ve seen an artist have so publicly. [In her videos] she’s not worried about the lighting and make-up, she’s just up there like raw, freaking loving it, having her response to the music. People criticise it because they don’t have that fearlessness.
"They’re like, ‘Wait, no filter? Not the best lighting?’
"But her freedom is everything she’s been fighting for. She is demonstrating the most poignant definition of freedom. That’s dope. Imagine if she does a world tour... you think she’d have to worry about expensive costumes? She could do the hits like she does in her living room. Britney would go out there in a pink bathing suit and smash it. I don’t know if she will do a tour. I would hope. If not, it doesn’t take away from her legacy."
The rap star, 48, famously teamed up with Britney to record their 2013 hit 'Scream and Shout' and whilst she has not been seen on stage since the 'Piece of Me' tour in 2018, Will insisted that the '...Baby One More Time' singer is still able to bring "joy" to the world despite her ordeal.
She said: "Imagine you realise that the people protecting you, weren’t.
"Imagine how off-putting, how that would change how you orbit, your balance. But you still want to create and you still make awesome music. Imagine giving the world joy while you’re in pain. The pain is you don’t know who to trust, but you still shine. And if you see her life now, she’s living all these things she’s always wanted to do – her perspective, her choices. And she has a beautiful spirit, you can see it when she dances!"