An Interview With: Nile Rodgers at the IOW Festival

With over 50 years in the music business producing hit after hit, Art Today caught up with Absolute Radio’s Sarah Champion interviewing the legend that is Nile Rodgers…

For more information on Nile Rodgers, read his self-penned autobiography – ‘Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco and Destiny’, (2011).

The Music Producer/Performer’s set turned out to be a ‘conveyor belt of hits’ much to festival-goers’ delight!  

From David Bowie to Madonna, music industry professionals have benefitted from the iconic Nile Rodgers’ proven influential expertise since the 1960s.  With a discography that’s hard to match – featuring such enduring hits as ‘Le Freak’ and ‘Good Times’ – the CHIC guitarist, writer, vocalist, producer AND philanthropist is certainly a stage act not to be missed.

The Art Today Ground Crew caught up with Absolute Radio and Nile Rodgers during their backstage interview on Saturday.

Sarah:-  Sarah Champion backstage at the Isle of Wight for Absolute Radio and I am delighted to be joined by the musical genius that is Nile Rodgers. That isn’t even over stating the issue. It’s not though come on we’ll come onto that.

Nile:-  No please.

Sarah:-  First of all can I say thank you for one of the greatest gigs I’ve ever been too earlier this year. Royal Albert Hall Nile Rodgers I mean just hit after hit after hits.

Nile:-  That was a fun one I must say.

Sarah:-  Was it?

Nile:-  Yeah and it was our first time playing at the Albert Hall now we’ve been there three times.

Nile Rodgers performing with his perennially-popular band CHIC.

Sarah:-  But it really is and I think you know for the people that are in the crowd that are gonna see you this afternoon, it’s just you hit the ground running it’s all thriller no filler you do your little you know your montage of all the hits that you’ve produced, not enough I’m like oh and then you’re straight onto the next let’s dance that’s Diana Ross, it’s Duran Duran and it’s just incredible. I said I wouldn’t fall over you and I realised I’m doing that.

Nile:-  Now she’s putting pressure on me cos we’re not doing any of those songs no I’m just kidding.

Sarah:-  But honestly the Nile Rodgers legacy for those that we don’t appreciate it you know you get the base line from Chic’s Good Times which comes the base line from Rappers Delight which becomes another one bites the dust.

Nile:-  You’re good why am I even here.

Sarah:-  I mean it’s just you have the Midas Touch and it spreads so far and wide do you know when you’re making those records? Can you feel the magic happen?

Nile:-  Only occasionally because typically what happens when you’re doing a record you’re trying to do the best you can every single time. However there’s something that I call convergence which I completely believe in that after we do the best job we can these other forces outside of us are working to help bring the audience into our world. We have nothing to do with it at that point I’m already off doing the next record, so I never know when anything’s gonna be a hit. I know in my heart things feel like hits but I’ve been let down hundreds of times.

Sarah:-  Right, right, right can we talk a little bit about Let’s Dance cos I know it has been one of your favourites to write on. What memories of that album do you have? Obviously it’s Bowie’s best seller we all know that but what are the specific memories you have making that record?

Nile Rodgers and CHIC back in the 1980s.

Nile:-  We became so close so fast that it was just it was mind boggling. I had had six failures in a row and David had so much trust in me when I did that record. I mean he basically let me do anything I wanted. Years later we left about it he says you know basically laid on the couch and walked into the studio every few minutes and went that’s great and then went back and watched television.

Sarah:-  Do more of that. We met a couple of years back and since then you have been invited to the rock and roll Hall of Fame the song writers Hall of Fame so congratulations…

Nile:-  Thank you.

Sarah:-  first of all there were big celebrations to both of those?

Nile:-  They were huge yeah.

Sarah:-  I mean about time.

Nile:-  You know I honestly, when I started making records to me my rock and roll Hall of Fame are the gold and the platinum records on the wall I mean there was no rock and roll Hall of Fame so was never a desire of mine, and when it came into existence I was on the board earlier but for some reason it felt a little weird to me. I feel a lot better about it now but I mean if it weren’t for Chic there would really be no Nile Rodgers, and in fact so much of my productions really include Chic. We’re always the band on most of the stuff that I play. Someone actually pointed out to me the other day you know that I’ve never produced a record that I didn’t play on. I play on everything like if you’re a band and you have two guitar players when I become your producer you have three guitar players, so I’m like on every single record I produce.

Nile lending his legendary guitar skills to one of Madonna’s early performances.

Sarah:-  Listen speaking of It’s About Time seamless link into the new records that’s up for release in September so there’s no stopping you is there? You’re not pausing for breath?

Nile:-  Yeah the single was just released at midnight this morning it was incredible and so far people seem to really like it which has blown me away cos when we wrote we were purposely writing Disco.

Sarah:-  And you’re playing it for us this afternoon I’m guessing?

Nile:-  Yeah we will play it.

Sarah:-  Okay well listen I have made it part of my contract that I get to see your set. So I will be there front row dancing to Chic and Nile Rodgers cos they’re so much fun. Enjoy every second of it I know I will.

Nile:-  Thank you and good to see you again, it’s really great like I said who needs Sarah she knows everything I’m just gonna sit here and just chill.

Sarah:-  Nile Rodgers super fan here sorry.

Nile:-  Listening to her giving you facts all the time.

 

To watch the full interview, go to www.absoluteradio.com.

 

[Credits:-  Feature image – thevinylfactory.com; nytimes.com; avshm.xe; guitarrasinlimites.com; Absolute Radio Press Office, DawBell Productions (IOW Festival 2018 PR); Art Today Festival Ground Crew]

 

 

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