RedOne Talks Performing at International Champions Cup, Being a Producer & Artist

Jiro Schneider

RedOne's catalog is loaded with major pop hits. Though starting out in Sweden as a recording artist himself, he has evolved into an in-demand producer and songwriter to craft game-changing hits for artists like Enrique Iglesias ("I Like How It Feels"), Jennifer Lopez ("On the Floor"), and Lady Gaga ("Just Dance," "Poker Face" and "Love Game").

Recently, though, RedOne has made some transformations himself. In May, he emerged with his debut single “Don’t You Need Somebody,” which features Iglesias, R. City, Serayah and Shaggy. While producing other projects with musicians like Iglesias and artists Spencer Ludwig and Kaya Stewart, RedOne carved out time to unleash his new song last week in a stadium of 80,000 people during halftime at the International Champions Cup soccer match in East Rutherford, New Jersey. He also performed the official Real Madrid song “Hala Madrid Y Nada Mas” (produced, co-written, and featuring RedOne) during the pregame performance for the bout between Real Madrid and FC Bayern Munich.

Before his big set, Billboard caught up with the multi-hyphenate to chat about his performance as well as his upcoming ventures.

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How old were you when you first started out in the music industry?

I was 18, 19 when I went to Sweden. It was crazy. Well, it was very tough because I was from Morocco going to another country that I had no idea about. I just loved the music from Sweden. The language was like nothing you ever heard in your life, and they’re very structured but for me, Sweden was how I became a professional as a musician. I was in rock bands and everything. I did it all before starting to become a producer.

What made you decide to become a producer? 

When I wanted to do my own solo album, I was struggling in my head in terms of what direction I should take. I had too much music and loved all kinds of stuff so I was like, no, I'll do that, more Stevie Wonder, more rock, more this. And then I realized I could do it all. How? By becoming a producer and giving different things to different artists.

Now you're releasing your own songs. What pushed you to do that?

Because I felt it's the right time. I've done it all and I'm so excited about my music. I'm still producing for artists so it's not like, "Now, this is what I'm gonna do." Being an artist is an addition to being a producer now. It's being able to do what I started with and do it again. It's fun and I just wanted to do it. I wanted to put my music out. I realized that my style is everything -- I don't have to stick to one thing. I do a song that has Shaggy and Enrique, then it's that kind of song. If I do a rock song, and I don't know, it's Bon Jovi, then I'll do that. 

What projects are you working on now?

A lot of different projects -- mine, Enrique Iglesias' and there's one that I'm really, really, really excited about. Well, not just one but a few. The new artists I'm really excited about because there's nothing stronger than that. Nothing beats the feeling of breaking somebody new. 

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Do the new artists you’re working with remind you of your younger self?

Everything happens for a reason. When I was young and really wanted to make it happen early, it didn't happen. It took many, many years. But a lot of [the artists] I’m working with, they're new, fresh, hungry, and they're getting the right help. It’s different for different people. Like Gaga was 20 when she got a break. J. Lo was 28.

You performed at the International Cup last night. How did that even come about?

Well I composed the Real Madrid song called "Ala Madrid Y Nada Mas." I composed that song with the orchestra and initially performed in Madrid. It was amazing. Just picture that song sang by a stadium of 90,000 people. It's just emotional. It's huge. On the original version, I did the players and the professional background singers singing opera. Then the second version that I did when we won the 11th cup was with Placido Domingo, who is a legendary opera singer.

By then, the team was playing here against FC Bayern Munich, and the president of Real Madrid asked me if I wanted to perform that song. I was like, "Absolutely." Then he heard about my single “Don’t You Need Somebody” and asked if I wanted to perform that too. So pre-game, I did "Alla Madrid Y Nada Mas," and after, at half-time, I did "Don't You Need Somebody." Shaggy and R.City were there and we all performed. It was really exciting to do. It was an honor for me.