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BBC Outlook Nov 14, 2011

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Extraordinary personal stories from around the world.

Today, the legendary musician and producer Nile Rodgers.

He's the co-founder of 70s disco band Chic and has collaborated with stars like David Bowie, Madonna and Diana Ross.

He tells Matthew about his rise from being the child of heroin addicts to the top of the music industry and about his own battle with drug addiction.

Now he's written a book about his extraordinary life called Le Freak, after one of his best known songs.

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Music-News.com: CHIC feat Nile Rodgers - HMV Forum, Kentish Town

Yowsah, yowsah, yowsah, I wanna boogie with you. And I did! As did many other fans invited onto stage by Chic to dance, dance, dance!

Yes, the legend that is Nile Rodgers graced the HMV Forum, together with legendary R&B / funk outfit Chic (in new formation), for a night of non-stop fun – playing a repertoire that catapulted the audience back to the era of Studio 54. Well, in spirit anyway, seeing how the Forum is not exactly a venue that oozes atmosphere from the golden days of disco (or any particular atmosphere at all!). And anyway, what is someone like Nile Rodgers doing playing the HMV Forum, hell, the Koko Camden would have been more appropriate! Not that it put much of a damper on Chic or Mr. Rodgers who, despite having spent most of the year battling cancer, delivered a show many will remember in time to come.

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London Evening Standard: CHIC Featuring Nile Rodgers, HMV Forum - Review

Star survivor: Nile Rodgers played a gig that would have left a smile on the face of a gargoyle

"Ain't no party like a disco party," said Nile Rodgers here - an old line proved overwhelmingly true by a gig that would have left a smile on the face of a gargoyle. This rare coming of a legend was disappointingly short of a sellout, and a sour note was added by security insisting that many people sit down to experience the most danceable music ever created. If it's really not safe to stand upstairs, HMV Forum, make it safe.

Rodgers, the last surviving creative force behind the band, announced from the stage that he has recently beaten prostate cancer - one euphoric moment of many. A medley of hits written for other people (including Upside Down and We are Family) that he threw away as the fifth song would have been most bands' ultimate encore. By the time he got to Le Freak and Good Times the stage had been invaded by ecstatic fans.

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Express: Nile Rodgers - The Good Times Keep Coming

Nile Rodgers: Le Freak

By Charlotte Heathcote

NILE Rodgers sounds remarkably chipper for a man fighting cancer, especially since he was only discharged from an emergency hospital stay the day before we speak.

The celebrated Chic songwriter and producer, the man who co-wrote Good Times, We Are Family and I’m Coming Out, who has collaborated with more or less any A-list artist you care to name from Madonna to Michael Jackson and sold around 100 million records in the process, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer 12 months ago and underwent surgery in January. He was recently rushed into hospital after blood started pouring from his ruptured bladder.

“I laughed when I got to hospital,” he says breezily. “I thought, ‘Boy, it’s really great I’m an insomniac. If I hadn’t woken up to do my blog, I could easily have bled to death. So it’s all good and I’m very happy and in great spirits.”

This is the mindset of a man who is simply grateful to be alive, although it’s clear from Nile’s frank blog (nilerodgers.com/blog) that he’s not always in such a positive frame of mind.

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The Hollywood Reporter: Adam Lambert Enlists Nile Rodgers for New Album [Video]

Video of the "American Idol" alum with the guitar legend and super-producer shows the two grooving in a New York recording studio.

Photo Credit: Jean Morisson

Nile Rodgers is everywhere these days, from your local bookstore, where his just-released memoir, Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny, is a hot item, to the New York Times, to a New York City studio where he and Adam Lambert are finding their groove.

The two have been trading tweets for days and now comes video of the American Idol alum and the guitar great and super-producer working out a riff on a track possibly destined for Lambert’s forthcoming second album -- albeit muted so as to “protect the integrity of the song” (see clip below).

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Us Weekly: EXCLUSIVE - Nile Rodgers: "I Haven't Touched a Drink or Drugs in 17 Years!"

Credit: Jerrit Clark/Getty

Nile Rodgers has certainly lived a lot.

Besides his illustrious career (producing smash albums for everyone from his seminal disco band CHIC to Madonna to David Bowie), he also battled severe drug and alcohol addiction and is still dealing with fighting off cancer.

The hitmaker's biggest highs and lows are detailed his incredible new autobiography, Le Freak: An Upside Down Story Of Fame, Disco And Destiny. But reading it wasn't enough for me, so I dialed up the man himself to chat about a few of his wild times, famed friendships and grappling with his disease.

UsMagazine.com: Why did you write the book and was there a hesitation about revealing so much?

Nile Rodgers: Let me be brutally honest here. I wrote the book simply because I was out at a party and a friend of mine who was a literary agent who I hadn't seen in a gazillion years was at the party too. He knew my story, and asked me to answer these twenty questions that he had prepared. I had to write my answer, look at it one time, edit it and then not look at it again and send it all to him. I didn't know what the hell he was doing! So he then took it and all he did was collate, he didn't even do anything. He just put it in the order that I had answered him and he sent it back to me bound, and asked if I thought this guy could write. Because I didn’t want to write it, I said let someone else tackle the task of writing this. He sent it back to me and asked me if I thought that guy could write. And I looked at it and I was really shocked because it sang. I was basically tricked into doing it myself.

Us: How were you able to go into such detail about your family? There was a lot of drug use and family drama.

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Rolling Stone: Nile Rodgers - C'est CHIC

Producer tells wild, star-studded stories in new book, 'Le Freak'

Photo Credit: Theo Wargo / WireImage

Nile Rodgers might be the quintessential Zelig of popular music. His band, Chic, defined the disco era, and its grooves laid the foundation for hip-hop. As an up-and-comer, Rodgers jammed with Jimi Hendrix (and dropped acid with Timothy Leary). As a producer and session guitarist, he helped mold the young Madonna, remade David Bowie’s career with Let's Dance, confided with Michael Jackson and recorded with Diana Ross, Duran Duran, Mick Jagger, Robert Plant and the B-52s, to name a (very) few. On top of all that, his work has appeared in ads for Nike and Budweiser and all over video games such as Halo. "I’ve had an amazing life," says the guitarist, whose memoir, Le Freak, was released October 18th, 2011.

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New York Times: A Hit Maker's Life and Lyrics

Nile Rodgers's new memoir, “Le Freak,” recounts his days as a successful record producer and musician
Photo Credit: Chang W. Lee / The New York Times

The venerable musician and record producer Nile Rodgers, wearing a bandanna tied around his dreadlocks, fade-out sunglasses and a charcoal-gray pinstripe jacket, arrived at Cafe Luxembourg right on schedule one morning last week.

The original idea was to have breakfast and then walk around the Upper West Side, revisiting landmarks represented in his new memoir, “Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco and Destiny” (Spiegel & Grau). We could have started at the former site of Ungano’s, next door on West 70th Street, where Mr. Rodgers played guitar in 1970 with a jazz-rock band called New World Rising. He was a teenager then, organizing for the Black Panthers and unofficially attending Stuyvesant High School. (He wasn’t enrolled, he explained; he just sat in on classes with teachers he found interesting.)

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Rolling Stone: The Playlist Special - Nile Rodgers on Disco

"I watched this sweeping change where New York morphed from dangerous to wonderful, a hip mosaic," recalls Chic's mastermind. "Inside a club, it was nirvana."


Read the original article here:

1. "Girl You Need a Change of Mind" Eddie Kendricks, 1973
This is disco's Big Bang. So many breakdowns, so intricate.

2. "Love to Love You Baby" Donna Summer, 1975
It was over-the-top erotic, and it was life-changing. It opened my mind to this new music.

3. "Cherchez La Femme" Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band, 1977
A retro record that reeked of the big-band music I loved as a child. This was the essence of the Chic formula – an experience that transformed you back to a different era, but you were still in modern times.

4. "Good Times" CHIC, 1979
It was the "disco sucks" summer, but this was a hit anyway.

5. "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" Santa Esmeralda, 1977
It sets this magical Spanish guitar to a big, building groove.

6. "My Love is Free" Double Exposure, 1976
They wrote about the economy and politics, breaking away from just love and dancing.

7. "Supernature" Cerrone, 1977
It felt like art: Dalí or Picasso with a groove. Later, we ripped off the bass line for "I Want Your Love."

8. "In the Bush" Musique, 1978
This guy just did crazy harmonic stuff. His records were half the foundation of what I've written the rest of my life.

Listen: Nile Rodgers' Top Disco Songs



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Billboard: Nile Rodgers Celebrates New Autobiography With Gayle King, Beatriz Perez, Kyle MacLachlan, More

By Danyel Smith, New York - Photos: Shahar Azran / WireImage

The Guest of Honor: Nile Rogers holding a copy of his new autobiography "Le Freak" at New York's Crosby Hotel. (Photo: Shahar Azran/WireImage)

The rainy remnants of Tropical Storm Lee could not stop entertainment glitterati and music literati from streaming into New York's Crosby Street Hotel last night to join Spiegel & Grau as the publishing house celebrated legendary producer/Chic founder Nile Rodgers' (@nilerodgers) new autobiography, "Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny."

Excerpted in this Sunday's New York Times T-Style Magazine (Sept. 11-18), the book is set for publication October 18. Gayle King (O the Oprah Magazine, OWN, Sirius XM) hosted the event with Beatriz Perez, chief sustainability officer of the Coca-Cola Company. Also in the candle-lit, lounge-y space was Kelly Cutrone of People's Revolution, Andrew Essex of Droga5, Angela Yee of New York's WWPR Power 105 (Clear Channel), and BET correspondent Lola Ogunnaike, among many others.

Rodger's editor, Spiegel & Grau executive editor Chris Jackson (who signed and edited Jay-Z's "Decoded"), also presided over the event, and guided a lively Rodgers-who has been writing about his struggles with cancer at his blog -through a series of anecdotes about creative partners Sister Sledge ("We are Family"), Diana Ross ("I'm Coming Out"), David Bowie ("Let's Dance"), Madonna, ("Like a Virgin"), and more.

The murmuring in the room was about Lil Wayne's new album, the tiny spring rolls, and about how well Rodgers looked. Many also wondered aloud about what Chris Jackson's next big project might be-though, as per usual, he remained mum on the subject.

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