will.i.am convinced Cheryl Cole to break out from Girls Aloud and start a solo career.
The producer and singer was the first person to suggest the 'Call My Name' singer record on her own rather than with her group Girls Aloud, who she rose to fame with in 2002.
Cheryl told website MSN: ''Being in a girl group for so many years, it was like seven years we were together and I was surrounded by friends, it's like a comfort blanket. It's not just you alone. So in terms of going solo, I hadn't really considered it until will planted the seed. He could see in me what I hadn't seen yet.
''And I've learned a lot from him, he's a very, very wise character. He's been in the industry for a long, long time, so I trusted his instinct and opinion.''
Cheryl's first solo spot was guest appearing on will.i.am's solo single 'Heartbreaker' in 2008. She then released her first single, 'Fight for this Love' in 2009, followed by three albums, '3 Words', 'Messy Little Raindrops', and 'A Million Lights'.
Girls Aloud - which also included Nadine Coyle, Sarah Harding, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh - were formed on TV show 'Popstars: The Rivals' in 2002 and had a highly successful career, selling over four million albums and four million singles.
They went on hiatus in 2009 before reuniting in 2012 for a Greatest Hits album and tour before splitting in March this year.