“I told her, I said, ‘I wish you lots of failure young,’” the American Idol judge, 70, told Us Weekly and other reporters on Wednesday, February 12, ahead of the season 18 premiere. “We’re in a business where it’s how you recover and ‘yes, yes, yes, yes, yes’ does not build character. And so, you’ve gotta get smacked in the face.”
Lionel explained that he told Sofia, 21, she is “gonna have a little bit more of a difficult time because you’re coming from a family where they expect a little bit more.”
The “All Night Long” singer went on to share a story about how his daughter Nicole Richie also struggled in the beginning of her career, in part because of his own worldwide fame.
“When [Sofia’s] sister Nicole was about 4 years old, she went on a talent show,” he recounted. “She was about to go out and do her little act, and they said, ‘And now we have Lionel Richie’s daughter,’ and she froze. And I went up and said, ‘You don’t want to be here?’ And she said, ‘Dad, I don’t want to be here.’”
Lionel called the moment “terrifying,” adding, “What I do tell them is: ‘Do your best, give them attitude and kill it.’ … All of my kids have great attitude. That’s half the battle, because I was a shy kid.”
The four-time Grammy winner also revealed that, like him, Sofia sings. “[She’s] doing fabulous,” he added.
Sofia started her career as a model at the age of 14. She has since worked in fashion and also made small appearances on her boyfriend Scott Disick’s E! reality shows, Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Flip It Like Disick.
Lionel said on Wednesday that while he has given the aspiring actress professional advice, he tries not to butt into her personal life.
“I don’t. You can’t step in there,” he said. “It just doesn’t work. If you’re a parent, you understand that.”
Sofia recently made headlines for unfollowing and then refollowing Disick’s ex-girlfriend Kourtney Kardashian on Instagram, sparking split rumors. However, a source later told Us exclusively that the couple, who started dating in the summer of 2017, are “totally fine.”
Sofia revealed to Entertainment Tonight earlier this month that she wants “to get into acting,” saying, “The roles I’m reading for right now are kind of similar to me, so they’re easy for me to play, and I really, really enjoy it.”
With reporting by Kayley Stumpe
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!