RF: Wow, just an incredible journey of a dreamer. I remember getting my first rap song from Diana Ross's daughter, Rhonda Ross – she’s my half sister [Redfoo is one of eight children to six of Gordy’s partners/wives]. She gave me a Run DMC tape and it was their first album and I remember saying, ‘This is the most incredible thing I ever heard...’JF: How did you come to be doing X Factor?
RF: I always wanted to get into movies and TV and The X Factor approached me and said ‘We want you to be a judge... We want you to be Foo. We want you to be you’, and now that was a breath of fresh air. A lot of people my whole life always want to change me, you know, ‘Pull your hair back’, ‘you got the big fro’, and ‘Do you have to wear your glasses all the time?’JF: Tell me about your childhood. Did you grow up surrounded by rock royalty, given who your father was?
RF: I was at Dad’s at Thanksgiving and Christmas and in the summer I'd go to there for a month. So, like, when I saw Michael Jackson for the first time, he was already ‘MICHAEL JACKSON’, you know. Now, some of the other cats, like Rick James, he was around all the time, so Rick James was like a friend. Or with Smokey Robinson, it was like ‘Oh, that's the guy who plays backgammon with my Dad. Oh, he sings too?’.
So Rockwell, my brother, put out the song 'Somebody's Watching Me' that went Number 2 on the Billboard and he had Michael Jackson singing on it, and they made that in the room next door to where I stayed at my Dad's house. So they had the drum machines, they had the keyboards. I remember playing with the drum machine and really liking the electronic style.JF: Did that mesmerise you more than the fact that it was Michael Jackson there?
RF: Oh yeah. I was kind of oblivious to what was going on. You know, when you’re a kid you’re thinking about throwing your ninja stars and stuff. So, when they asked me, “Hey, do you wanna go to the Motown 25th anniversary show - this famous show where Michael Jackson did the Moonwalk for the first time - and I said ‘Nah, I'm gonna go to my friend’s house and play ColecoVision, [like Nintendo].’ I came back later and they had an after-party and that's where I saw Michael and he had just done the biggest televised event in TV history [in 1983]. Now here he was at the party. We were just you know chillin' and he said "Hey, Stefan, how's it goin?'" and I had no clue.JF: I've got to ask you about your style. Where do the glasses come from, the fluoro, the animal print, the whole look.
RF: I had messed with the glasses earlier, you know, about ten years ago. I had just poked out the glass, to be fun, you know. I played around with it and nothing, it didn’t catch on. But then [in 2006-7] I went with my nephew, partying at this club in Miami Beach. So it’s all smoky and dark, electro, house music goin’ on. I'm dancin' and I'm feeling so good and I wanted to wear some glasses, I wanna be cool, too, you know, ‘cause they're wearing their shades around. So I put on some glasses and they had lenses in them and I couldn't see at all. I really thought I was dancing with some hot girls...
JF: Did you rebel as a kid? Your parents were cool dudes, right...
RF: I did my own thing. I was a class clown, never got good grades. My mom was working 9 to 5. I was a latchkey kid.JF: What did your parents feel about the name, LMFAO?
RF: They didn't get it. They thought it was just some letters we had picked and they were like ‘LIMFAYO? What is that?’ and that's when we knew it was the greatest name ever because the parents didn't like it.JF: You’ve got so much going on, how do you have time for a personal relationship?
RF: Yeah, that's an issue.JF: You’re dating tennis star Victoria Azarenka.
RF: We met at the US Open. I think what attracted us to each other was simply at first we were both at top of our fields.JF: On X Factor, when [14-year-old contestant] Jai sang the song Don't Let Me Go, you said ‘I'm going through something right now in a relationship and these lyrics made me cry’. What was going on?
RF: I had just come out here and we had been apart for a long time for the first time in our relationship. So it was tough. I felt very emotional, which is not normal for me, I felt vulnerable.
JF: It’s not normal for you to be emotional and vulnerable?
RF: Not in that sense of feeling like ‘I miss somebody’, or ‘Is this the right decision?’. Before Jai sang that, I was thinking ‘I hope that she holds on to me’.JF: That the love is strong enough...
RF: That the love is strong enough. So when he started singing, “Don’t Let Me Go, don’t leave me now”, I imagined me saying that to Vika and all these feelings welled up and [the tears] just came out. I just said I'm not gonna try to fight it; I wanna show this kid that this is how powerful he is, singing this song right now. After the show I said I need you to sing that to me and I'm gonna send it on WhatsApp to Vika and I said, this kid is gonna help me fix things, ‘cause if I can show her that I'm thinking about her, that I wanna say to her don't leave me now... This is the power of good music.JF: One of your best known songs with LMFAO is ‘I’m Sexy and I know it’.’ Do you think you’re sexy?
RF: I think I’m very sexy because I am me. I am the best me. I am not trying to be somebody else, so when you are you, you are sexy. I'm sexy literally and I know it. I'm sexy because I know it.JF: First thing you’d do if you were president of the US?
RF: Change the education system. I would get in there teaching philosophies like The Secret, the Law of Attraction, following your dreams.
To read more of Jackie's interview with Redfoo, grab a copy of the November issue of marie claire or download it for your iPad here.
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