At Home With LMFAO's Redfoo: On Fashion, Heartache and Collaborating With Stevie Wonder
By Sophie Schillaci
Redfoo's home is just as colorful as you might imagine.
The party rocker, best known as one half of the dance pop duo LMFAO and the youngest son of Motown founder Berry Gordy, recently welcomed ETonline into his pad for a chat on music, life and his out-of-this-world fashion sense.
Tucked away among the steep, narrow streets of the Hollywood hills, his newly purchased three-story house appears unassuming. Were it not for a parked van splashed all over with the LMFAO "Party Rock" logos, one might never guess that these beige, concrete walls house the same guy who paired a zebra-print piano with a keyboard-print short suit in his latest video.
That same piano rests comfortably on the second floor of Foo's home, positioned between a dimly-lit home studio, a sunny balcony overlooking the Los Angeles skyline, and a wall filled with accolades. Among them: a Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award blimp, a framed copy of LMFAO's 2011 Billboard cover story, and an official Gold record for Redfoo's first major production credit on LA rapper Ahmad's "Back in the Day." (Ahmad and Foo were both teenagers at the time.)
"We're just starting to have the house parties now," Foo tells me, explaining that he and his crew -- which includes LMFAO's hypeman Q and dancing cyborg Shufflebot -- moved in a mere six months ago.
In the three years since LMFAO shared the stage with Madonna during the Super Bowl halftime show and, shortly thereafter, announced their hiatus, Foo has proven his global appeal with a two-season judging stint on The X Factor Australia, given Robert De Niro a lap dance in the film Last Vegas, and tried his moves (albeit, very briefly) in the Dancing With the Stars ballroom.
While he released a handful of singles that didn't quite launch the solo career he was looking for, Foo plans to change that with the release of his debut solo album. (Where the Sun Goes is expected to street by this summer's end.)
The singer is getting serious about his "New Thang."
"I lost touch with the sexy sax man because he stole some of the girls from the video shoot," Foo jokes, referring to the music video's antagonist. "It wasn't his fault. He just started playing that sax... Actually, he was at the party the other night."
So, did he bring his sax?
"No, I told him it wasn't that kind of party," Foo cracks. "I said, 'I'm DJing, please leave your sexy, sax-ual thing at home,' because he just walks out like the Pied Piper with the ladies. He steals the show just like in the video."
Jokes aside, to hear Redfoo (born Stefan Kendal Gordy) discuss "New Thang" with his team is to see another side of the goofy 39-year-old. He's in awe of the song's rising stats, including 90 million YouTube views (the clip is averaging more than 1 million YouTube views per day) and 11 million Spotify streams. It's a top 10 Shazamed song in a dozen countries and has already peaked at No. 1 on iTunes in Australia.
All this with no promotion whatsoever. "New Thang" will ship to radio this week.
"The song is becoming one of my biggest songs," Foo happily reports. "It's No. 1 in Vietnam."
Again, I interject. "I'm sorry, did you ever think you'd have a No. 1 hit in Vietnam?"
"Nope, and I'm very excited about it," he replies.
Foo says his new album is "still party, but I'm gonna experiment a little and venture out into some other moods." There's the rockin' "Summertime Lovin'," about a carefree girlfriend whose "winter attitude is making the spring fall down"; there's "360 Love," about the pressures to balance a career and relationship; "Lights Out" is about going into "zombie-mode" after seeing a pretty girl; and, perhaps most surprisingly, a not-yet-titled ballad about saying "I love you" and not getting the response you hoped for. (The song titles are still being finalized.)
"I didn't even get an 'I love you' back.' It was delayed," he laments. "I was feeling these weird feelings about not getting the 'I love you' back, and I just went in and wrote this song. It could be the next wedding song."
Foo describes his relationship status as "complex" (he dated tennis pro Victoria Azarenka for two years before reportedly splitting in 2014), though the ballad's subject appears to have inspired many of his new songs.
"[This album] is different because it has a bunch of personal relationship stuff that is making its way into the album," he explains. "I kinda have a mini progression of [the relationship]."
But it's the album's title track that's bound to make waves. The carefree, breezy anthem features sunny lyrics, harmonies, and the harmonica stylings of one Stevie Wonder.
"He's a longtime family friend and just to finally do something with him is unbelievable," Foo gushes. "When I made the song, I played the lead line on the synth and, I wasn't trying to make a harmonica sound, but I was doing it and people were like, 'Oh, that sounds like a harmonica.' So I put on the track, 'Let Stevie get some!' and the idea was born."
Luckily, Foo's got some connections. His management put in the request, and later, at aMotown: The Musical event in Los Angeles hosted by his father, Redfoo put in some face time with the legendary artist.
"I said, 'Hey man, thanks for doing the song,' and he said, 'Oh yeah, I love it. I'm gonna get on it'" Foo recalls. "The next day he sent the song. He's incredible."
As our sit-down interview wraps, Redfoo -- clad in custom ice cream print Vans and an even more boldly printed shirt and shorts set -- escorts our crew upstairs for a peek inside his closet.
Colorful is an understatement.
The walk-in features a glass wall overlooking a beautiful pool outside, though you'd be forgiven for not noticing. The room resembles a candy shop, filled with brightly colored, over-the-top designs from Redfoo himself.
"I'll go to a fabric store and just go crazy," he says. "I'll pick fabrics and then we'll make some custom stuff."
Naturally, the Redfoo empire also includes a fashion line. The avid tennis player, who in 2013 attempted to quality for the US Open, sponsors multiple tournaments via his Party Rock clothing line -- even outfitting the players.
"People are going crazy 'cause I've been letting other players wear [my designs] and they've been calling me like, 'Yo, man, you need to get this in the stores ASAP,'" Foo reveals, noting that he's currently "looking for a partner to get it into stores."
With my own closet full of practical (and, I hope, somewhat timeless) pieces from Banana Republic, Kate Spade and Anthropologie, I couldn't resist the opportunity to be styled by Foo via his La Freak fashion line. Go inside Foo's closet for yourself and see how he dressed me in the video above.