Rodgers knows a thing or two about great records. He’s crafted hits for Chic, Diana Ross and Madonna in addition to collaborating with Daft Punk, Disclosure and Sam Smith. The diverse scope of his career will be saluted during BMI’s annual R&B/Hip-Hop Awards, taking place this year at the Saban Theatre in Los Angeles.
Having recently added another credit to his lengthy resumé -- working on Duran Duran’s new album Paper Gods—Rodgers also chatted with Billboard about his upcoming concerts with the rock band, being inspired by Diana Ross and, oh yes, setting a release date for Chic’s long-gestating return, It’s About Time.
On gigging with Beck, Pharrell, Chuck D, Keith Urban, Janelle Monae and more during the two-day FOLD Festival: That was one of the most amazing times of my life. It looks like I’ve now started an annual festival. It showed me what I live for and why I do this. Everyone’s always telling me that this or that doesn’t go together. But it’s music—it all goes together.
Nile Rodgers on New Chic Album & All-Star Collaborators: 'I Just Gotta Go With My Heart'
On Chic’s four-date run with Duran Duran, which includes an Oct. 1 stop at the Hollywood Bowl: I think of them as my second Chic, my other band. All of my life I’ve wanted to be on tour with Chic and Duran Duran. And for the first time we get to do it.
On Diana Ross inspiring the track “Queen” on the upcoming Chic album: I wrote “Queen” 25 years ago at least after I was with Diana at a Julio Iglesias concert at Radio City in New York. Iglesias announced that his “queen” Diana Ross was in the audience. I tried to get her to do the song years ago, but she wouldn’t. She thought people would think she was being egotistical. “Queen” is a very emotional song. I got the musical concept for it from a group I loved, the Family Stand. Elton John and Janelle Monáe pull it off perfectly.
On when fans can expect It’s About Time: The album is still coming this year; no question in my mind. It has to be fourth quarter at this point. We’re down to recording the last three songs. I’ve been somewhat protective of it, like a child. But I’ve got to let it grow up.