Reporting Scott T. Sterling
Nile Rodgers‘ status as a bona fide music legend has been long solidified. Starting with his pioneering work in the 1970s producing hits for his band Chic (“Good Times,” “Le Freak”) and other acts like Sister Sledge (“We Are Family”), his success would stretch through the ’80s with groundbreaking albums from such artists as Madonna (Like A Virgin) and David Bowie (Let’s Dance).
Now that he’s co-written Daft Punk‘s current smash, “Get Lucky,” Nile Rodgers is more in-demand than ever. Rodgers sat down with New York’s 92.3 NOW (a Radio.com station) today (Aug. 7) to talk about the state of the music industry, and how his Daft Punk collaboration could be the most important track of his illustrious career.
“The growth in the industry is 19 percent this last year, which is huge because now we’re approaching numbers that I’m accustomed to, like the numbers I grew up with,” Rodgers noted. “I co-wrote–I think it’s still the biggest song of the year this year, Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky.’ It’s not the biggest seller of my life, but it’s in a weird way one of the most influential, because it’s the only record that I’ve had that’s been No. 1 in 97 countries simultaneously. That’s half the countries in the entire world. That was a statistic that I never even knew people kept track of.
“With ‘Get Lucky,’ we sold a million [copies] in just England alone, which is impossible,” Rodgers continued. “I’ve never sold a million records in England. That’s only happened 135 times in history, and some of those records took 25 years to get to that level.”
Rodgers, who is currently on the winning side of an ongoing battle with prostate cancer, is making a point to fully enjoy moment of his revived popularity among the music elite, and was particularly excited to discuss “Lay Me Down,” a new collaboration with EDM star Avicii and Adam Lambert.
“I’m watching this thing on Twitter, and everybody’s going crazy over a joint that honestly, I wrote in two hours,” Rodgers explained of the song, which is officially titled “ID (Lay Me Down).”
“You can go on Twitter right now and see people are flipping out over this record. So in my current world, the music business is starting to feel exciting again,” the guitarist added. “I’ve got all these records, and I feel like they all have the potential to go big.”
Rodgers also talked about the forthcoming album from Chic, which was tapped today to replace an ailing D’Angelo at this weekend’s Outside Lands festival in San Francisco.
The new Chic album will be comprised of unfinished songs he was working on 35 years ago that were recently unearthed. Rodgers told DJAZZtv (via NME) that “Daft Punk wants to do at least one of (the songs) with me, so that should be very cool. Because they respect the music, they understand.”
The producer also broached the subject of race in the music industry, and how much things have changed since his ’70s/’80s heyday.
“I come from an era where black R&B bands were a mainstay of the record industry. Now there’s only one black band with a record deal, and that’s the Roots, who I played with last night,” Rodgers said. “So now [with a new Chic album], there will be two black bands with record deals.”