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Soul Man - Nile Rodgers Interview
HIS discography is simply mind-blowing.
As well as being the King of Disco with Chic and Sister Sledge, partying to his huge hits Le Freak, Lost in Music, We Are Family and Good Times, he’s the man behind some of the biggest commercial successes of all time for other artists.
Think Madonna’s Like A Virgin and Let’s Dance by David Bowie.
That’s not to mention working with Diana Ross, Duran Duran, Peter Gabriel, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton and Michael Jackson.
These days it’s all David Guetta, Chase and Status and the song of the summer Daft Punk’s Get Lucky for Nile Rodgers, one of the most influential men in pop history, who only sleeps for around two and a half hours a night before hauling himself back in the recording studio.
He’s more prolific than ever before in his sixth decade, he tells me down the phone from his home in Connecticut. But that might not have been the case, had it not been for a twist of fate.
“I dropped out of the business for ten or 12 years and then something happened to me two and a half years ago. I was diagnosed with extremely aggressive cancer and at that point I didn’t know what the future held for me or even if I had a future.
“It was scary and there was nothing I could do about all the medical stuff, but I decided to do something about the stuff I could control.
“I wanted to go back to the one thing that makes me feel good and that’s making music.”
Music lovers will be thrilled that he did. Festival-goers at Glastonbury and Hyde Park this summer have been treated to some sets from Chic that are already becoming legend.
And he’s back in the UK next week for Bestival, a show that’s close to his heart.
“Bestival is like a second home.
We’ve done Bestival, Camp Bestival, a few times.
“They were the first ones to takes a chance on us, on Chic performing again, so we love them.”
An appearance with Elton John, who takes to the stage immediately after them, is a definite possibility now I’ve made Nile aware of the running order.
“Oh great, Elton and I are great friends. I’ve played the most times with Sting, but apart from that it’s Elton. I’ve probably played with him about 20 times. He played at my charity ball and he basically just joined Chic for the evening!”
The disco band’s sets differ depending on the mood of the performers and the audience, but some things are set in stone.
“Once we’ve played all the big hits, there’s not a lot of time left for anything else, but we always know the beginning and end of every Chic show.
“We start with the first song we ever wrote for Chic Everybody Dance.
“I’ll just explain it to you and I think you’re only about the second person I’ve ever told this to, but my songwriting partner Bernard Edward died in 1996. We were in Japan and they put him in a white kimono. So we always wear white and play that first ever song we wrote for Bernard. We don’t explain it to the audience, but it's a special moment for us."
- The tenth birthday Bestival gets under way on Thursday, with an early opening of The Big Top featuring M.I.A, Kitty Daisy & Lewis and Courtney Pine. Elton John, Snoop Dogg and Fat Boy Slim headline the Main Stage. Bestival is close to a sell-out.
- To snap up the last few remaining tickets, click here>>
- For your guide to Bestival with map, full line-up and a chat with other artists, see next Friday’s Your Entertainment.
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