Nile Rodgers: The Chic Album 'Is Still Coming This Year'
BMI's 2015 Icon honoree also talks Duran Duran and being inspired by Diana Ross
When Nile Rodgers formally accepts the BMI Icon Award Friday night, the music legend says that in addition to the honor itself, another of the evening’s memorable moments will be tied to a special guest in the house.
“Bernard Edwards Jr. [son of Rodgers’ late Chic partner] and his wife are coming,” notes the Grammy-winning pioneer. “That will be one of the proudest times for me. Most people don’t realize that Bernard’s son is an incredible producer who goes by the name Focus and is doing so many great records.”
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.
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.