Q

Nile Rodgers on Bowie, Madonna and Chic's first new album in more than 25 years

The musical mastermind discusses some moments in music history and what it was like creating Chic's new album, It's About Time.
Host Tom Power with Nile Rodgers in the q studio in Toronto, Ont. (Jesse Kinos-Goodin/CBC)
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Originally published on October 29, 2018

Nile Rodgers is the Grammy-winning musical mastermind behind a number of hit songs. He helped David Bowie and Diana Ross make the biggest records of their careers, turned Madonna into a bona fide pop star and helped pave the way for the hip-hop revolution that's still felt to this day. 

Earlier this month, Rodgers released a song called Boogie All Night, under the name of his old disco band, Chic, which had huge success in the '70s. The song is from a new album called It's About Time, and it's Chic's first new album in more than 25 years.

In a conversation with q's Tom Power, Rodgers talks about making the album, and shares stories about what it was like to work with some of music's biggest icons. Rodgers recalls meeting David Bowie for the first time at an after-hours club with one of his best friends at the time, Billy Idol, and how that meeting gave him the opportunity to show that he was more than just "the Disco King." 

"All [David Bowie and I] talked about was jazz. And I didn't understand that David Bowie, this rock 'n' roll icon, was so into jazz. I was fascinated by his knowledge, so I started talking about arrangements, and that I could do very sophisticated arrangements because I grew up with Bebop. And I said, you know, I can orchestrate for big bands and symphony orchestras — I could do a symphony for 300 people if you wanted, and he couldn't believe it. He was like, 'Wow, you know everybody thinks [of you] as The Disco King.' His impression of me was completely different after that conversation."

It's About Time is out now. 

Nile Rodgers and q host Tom Power. (qTV)

Hear more from Nile Rodgers about David Bowie, Madonna and Chic's new album near the top of this page. 

Produced by ​Tyrone Callender​

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