2012 was like a roller-coaster ride with many ups and downs
2012 was like a roller-coaster ride - many ups and downs, and many twists and turns. Though I'm in show business, I lead a semi-solitary life because I'm mainly a composer, but I love playing guitar and getting out.
I've collaborated on a number of recording, writing, production, and live events with a diverse group of A-list artists too long to mention in a single blog post.
One of the year's most surprising meets was Russell Peters. I've enjoyed his comedic skills long before we'd met, but I had no idea how deeply he was into music.
Many of my strongest relationships have come from a shared love of music. The first night I met David Bowie we talked each other's ears off about music - from the most mainstream to the most avant-garde. That meeting profoundly changed our lives.
When Russell and I met at his Barclays Center show, of course he had me laughing my A$$ off, but his ability to discuss music on that level shocked the $hit out of me.
My annual We Are Family Foundation charity gala takes place on January 31st and Russell will play a major role. He's already given me solid musical ideas and hooked us up with Hip-Hop legend Grandmaster Melle Mel.
At the gala, which was rescheduled after Hurricane Sandy shut us down, Russell will crack jokes, DJ, MC, and who knows what else on the final night of the first month of 2013. 2012 was like a roller-coaster ride, but that was The Last Year of My Life.
Though I'm smiling I'd just had a heavy day of medical test - 2012 was like a roller-coaster ride
Last year I collaborated with WAFF's 2012 Unity Honoree Adam Lambert and a number of A-list artists
"Let's Dance" happened as a result of that first meeting with me and David Bowie
Me, GZA, DjKool Herc, Melle Mel, & Russell Peters backstage - The first time I met Russell
Russell will play a major role at the We Are Family Foundation gala
Hurricane Sandy shut us down and blacked-out our venue
VIDEO: WAFF Gala 2011 Rehearsals with GZA & Q-TIP - "Good Times" at WAFF Gala 2011 Rehearsals with GZA & Q-TIP
Unity Award Honoree Adam Lambert - My band CHIC and I will be performing "Shady" and other songs with him
When I woke up this morning I was hit with a powerful thought: cherish this moment because I don't know what the rest of the day's going to be like. I walked outside, sniffed the crisp ocean air, then started my typically hectic day: answered emails from Fender Guitars, Irvine Welsh, Avicii, The Grammys (my label Sumthing has the 1st video game soundtrack ever nominated), Anita Baker, Simian Mobile Disco, and one of the funniest dudes on the planet Russell Peters. I took my medication - some of you may not know that I've had an aggressive battle with cancer - then I wolfed down breakfast.
When I say, "I don't take life for granted," it's not hyperbole. Death has jumped on and off me like "Fire jumps off Jim Brown." ~Richard Pryor
I celebrate life every day and today I had good reason to celebrate. My charity the We Are Family Foundation announced many of the artists for our upcoming gala. This year's gala has suffered many setbacks - from Hurricane Sandy, venue rescheduling problems, to a number of unforeseen deaths of close friends.
Our modus operandi is: we try and give the most with whatever resources are available to us. As I was counting my blessings I recognized our greatest resources are our people. They give when they don't have to which never ceases to amaze me. Some of this year's amazing people are our Unity Award Honoree Adam Lambert (who came to international prominence on the highly rated TV show American Idol), Taylor Dayne, Kathy Sledge (the voice of the song We Are Family), Grandmaster Melle Mel, Anita Baker, CHIC and uber comedian, MC, and turntablelist Russell Peters, guaranteeing yet another incredible show after eleven years.
The great many people who selflessly help us in our mission to try and help make this world a little better for those that don't have it as well as some of us are my American Idols! (Well Russell is Canadian)
Fender Artists Signature Models soon my name will be on the list
#01 Fender Strat Hitmaker '59 SN 59019
Touré and Rosie Perez - We Are Family Gala Celebration v2.0 Hosts
Russell Peters is funny as hell and a serious music aficionado and serious dj
Richard Pryor who told us, "Fire jumps off Jim Brown."
The building of one of our We Are Family Foundation schools - Our greatest resources are our people
Me playing guitar on "Shady" with Adam Lambert who's a truly great person
The outstanding Taylor Dayne & me at Montreux Jazz CEO Claude Nobs RIP chalet
Hip Hop Pioneer Grandmaster Melle Mel
We Are Family - I consider this my all time best pound for pound album
People selflessly help us-2011 TEDxTeen host Toure-This program has more than 2 million views
Me and Anita Baker with CHIC at the WAFF gala in November 2011
Last Year's Gala Finale "We Are Family"
Claude Nobs the CEO of the Montreux Jazz Festival allowed me to curate a festival within Montreux Jazz
I'm rarely at a loss for words but ever since hearing my good friend Claude Nobs has passed away, I've been stunned. He was one of the world's greatest music impresarios. Last year he allowed me to curate a festival within his own Legendary Montreux Jazz Festival and it was one of the greatest nights of my life.
I've known Claude since 1978, a year after CHIC was signed to Atlantic Records. He was our first European tour manager. One thing I can say is the world is truly a better place because he was once among us. His presence will be missed.
The best way musicians celebrate the passing of one of our own is to dedicate music to them. At the upcoming We Are Family Foundation gala, we'll say goodbye to him in our way. He was a huge supporter of the charity and things won't be the same without him.
I can't count the times I've performed for Claude. He respected my taste in dance music and we were planning another big night for me at Montreux this year. Just a few weeks ago I had dinner with him and a group of music icons. I've spoken to all of them since that amazing night which we've now deemed The Last Supper.
VIDEO: Freakout! Montreux - A Nile Rodgers Curated Event
Last year he allowed me to curate a festival within his own Legendary Montreux Jazz Festival
Classic CHIC in 1978 - the year I met Claude Nobs
Dionne Warwick, me, Claude Nobs, and Jackson Browne on the red carpet at last year's gala
Last Year's Gala Finale - I'm sure if you look hard you'll find Claude
Me after dinner with music icons Tommy LiPuma, Claude Nobs, George Wein, Seymour Stein and Tom Silverman
My dear friend and CEO of Montreux Jazz Claude Nobs, has been in a coma for the last two weeks
My dear friend Claude Nobs has been in a coma for the last two weeks as a result of a skiing accident. I love him very much and I'm praying for his recovery. He has never shown me anything but respect.
When CHIC first performed in Europe, the legendary CEO of the Montreux Jazz festival was our tour manager. He's been making an Impact on the world music scene as far back as I can remember. Deep Purple's iconic '72 classic "Smoke On The Water," is about the fire that burned down the site of the Montreux Jazz Festival, and even refers to "Funky Claude" who rescued people from that fire.
When David Bowie and I did the first demo for the album that would become his biggest seller Let's Dance, we called Claude who furnished us with local musicians. I wrote the arrangement in my bedroom at David's chalet in Lausanne, Switzerland and we recorded it at Queen's Mountain Studios in Montreux. David even heard guitar virtuoso Stevie Ray Vaughan for the very first time at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Claude has always been a musician's friend - whether you're just starting out or a seasoned veteran, he loves being part of helping you see your musical vision.
A few years ago Claude awarded me with the Miles Davis Gold Medal for CHIC's performance at Montreux. He told me I could do whatever I wanted to do at the festival for the rest of my life. Last year he let me curate my own festival within his festival. It seemed fitting that I'd name my festival for mine and Bowie's biggest single's as a tribute to Claude. I performed the first incarnation of Freakout! Let's Dance on July 13th, 2012. I called it The Evolution of Dance Music.
I have never been more proud to be associated with music, musicians and this wonderful man named Claude Nobs. Get well soon my dear friend - and we can hug, laugh, and Freakout! Let's Dance.
VIDEO: Freakout! Montreux - A Nile Rodgers Curated Event
CHIC back in the 70's
"Let's Dance" lead sheet
A few years ago Claude awarded me with the Miles Davis Gold Medal for CHIC's performance at Montreux
Bowie heard Stevie Ray Vaughan for the 1st time at Montreux Jazz
Last year Claude let me curate a festival within a festival at Montreux Jazz
Claude letting me know what time Grace Jones was arriving
Johnny Marr, Mark Ronson, and me working out the guitar arrangement
Claude Nobs, me, Grace Jones, Paulo (her son), and Felix da Housecat after all knockout performances
Get well soon my dear friend - and we can hug, laugh, and Freakout! Let's Dance
Nile Rodgers & Daft Punk
Last year was trying for my health and a number of colleagues passed away. Maybe, it was poetic to end 2012 in Japan? There are so many memories there for me, both happy and sad, but it always strengthens me to visit. It's the place where my long time partner, bassist extraordinaire Bernard Edwards, passed away in April 1996. It's also the place where my band performed in April 2011, in the aftermath of the triply devastating earthquake, tsunami, and Fukushima Daiichi - one of the world's worst nuclear disasters.
Although April in Japan is bittersweet, the people dependably reinforce the sweet. I'm always assured of an audience that loves to celebrate, party, and have a genuine good time with me. They allow us to play anything from my repertoire, and indulge my every artistic whim.
The next time we return, I want to do something extra special, because people always pull me aside and request songs that I thought just a handful of people knew. In a world of lower proportionate record sales (compared to my multi-platinum heyday when the Gold, Platinum, and Diamond award plateaus were double), our last studio album CHIC-ism, sold around 400,000 units in April 1992 - a respectable number by today's standards.
The next time I set foot in Japan, my collaboration with Daft Punk would have started to hit people's eardrums, as well as a number of songs I'm working on over the next few months with a select group of artists, and of course finally, my lost CHIC and solo material. No matter how it ends, 2013 Won't Be Boring!
Maybe, it was poetic to end 2012 in Japan? I signed a fan's tee right after midnight
Me and 'Nard on our CHIC-ism promo tour - Bernard Edwards passed away in April 1996 in Japan
CHIC Live on Sukkiri Japanese TV April 2011 in the aftermath of Fukushima Daiichi
The Japanese fans dependably reinforce the sweet
I'm assured of an audience that loves to celebrate, party, and have a good time
Our CHIC music fans are getting younger and younger
They indulge my every artistic whim and even allowed us to play into the dressing room at the end
CHIC-ism sold around 400,000 units in April 1992
The next time I set foot in Japan, my collaboration with Daft Punk would have started to hit people's eardrums
Some of the found "Lost Tapes"
This was our 1st show of 2013 and it was in Japan
My Fender Nile Rodgers Signature Series Hitmaker guitar should debut in 2013
2013 Won't Be Boring!
Only the third day of 2013 and it's already been amazing! Thank you Japan! We'll be back soon. And now, home. Narita Int'l to JFK NYC.
2012 has been an amazing year for Walking on Planet C. Looking back at Nile's cancer, music and life blog's highlights for 2012 makes us very proud. Mostly, though, we thank everyone who's supported, those that read your weekly briefs, and those that are dedicated to it every day.
Here are the Top 15 blog posts of 2012. Happy New Year!
#1 "I'm Still Freaking Out" - September 23, 2012
On my sixtieth birthday I was on a plane heading over to London, England. I was going to attend an old friend's wedding. Nobody could reach me in the air on my milestone birthday, so some of my closest friends embarked upon an epic undertaking.
#2 "I Know That I'm Dying" - May 20, 2012
I've slept more in the past few days than I can ever remember. I've been very sick and I've had to marshal my strength for the extensive travel and concerts. Even with all the rest I got progressively worse. On the drive home from the airport today I felt so sick that I couldn't help but think "I Know That I'm Dying." I tried to think positively - but the phrase "I Know That I'm Dying" kept repeating in my head.
#3 "Freakout! Montreux" - June 28, 2012
I was up all night planning the final pieces of our mega Dance Party at Montreux Jazz on July 13. It will be the first event of it's kind that I've curated since the formulation of CHIC. I see it as "The Evolution of Dance Music."
#4 "Madonna to Adam Lambert" - September 7, 2012
There have been so many deaths of friends and acquaintances lately, which remind me just how precious the gift of life is. Some friends had passed away unexpectedly and others after long bouts with various illnesses. There's a saying that goes, "When one door closes another opens" – that's truly been my life's pattern.
#5 "Daft Punk is Hanging at My House" - February 7, 2012
Today I'm going to spend some time with Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo better known as Daft Punk. We've briefly met before when they were doing some sort of listening party in NYC back in the 90's. The scene was chaotic and we didn't really have a chance to have an artistic connection, except they did tell me that they were sorry about my former partner Bernard Edward's death. And they dug CHIC. The feeling is mutual.
#6 "Daft Punk Album - I'm Hyped" - August 10, 2012
Over the last few days I've had tons of meetings to plan for the rest of what's already been an exciting year. Just when I thought I couldn't get more hyped up about the future, I got a call from Daft Art's Paul Hahn. He was in New York and so was I - we figured out a way to meet between our other meetings. We linked up at the bar at Michael Jordan's restaurant in Grand Central Terminal. We talked about as many things as we could fit into our quick meeting.
#7 "Trust the Process" - May 9, 2012
Adam Lambert's new album Trespassing has leaked out. Most of you have already heard the song that I played on called "Shady." What you don't know is the Process. It started with a tweet to me from Adam and Sam Sparro asking me to play on this funky track.
#8 "Singing and Dancing My A$$ Off!" - January 20, 2012
Yesterday I took the Acela train to Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I went there for a number of reasons, but while I was there I went and visited their music archives.
#9 "I Guess We All F***'d Up?" - October 6, 2012
I'm going through a low-point in my physical health but I'm not complaining. Instead I ask myself, "Who has it better than I do?" I've cheated death more times than I can count and I'm currently on the mend (again) and working more than ever before.
#10 "Declared Officially Dead" - December 1, 2012
I've been playing with some of my demos from the 80's lately and it's been exciting jamming along with my old band mates. I love to play guitar and I could do this every day for the rest of my life just for the fun of it.
#11 "When Death Comes Knocking" - September 4, 2012
Summer is officially over and now we Americans go back to work. I've worked harder this summer than any summer of my life - so the calendar has little meaning to me other than it being a measuring tool of events. My life is a journey through endless mazes, tunnels, windows, and doors with no knowledge of what's on the other side of any of them.
#12 "My Favorite Daft Punk Records" - February 8, 2012
I had to grab an early morning train because I wanted to spend as much time with Daft Punk as possible. We had to make up for years of lost time and missed meetings in the past. During the meeting, Thomas said, "Nile, everything has worked out perfectly to bring us to this moment."
#13 "They Know the Song" - June 5, 2012
Bernard Edwards, my long time partner, peeked out from behind the curtain at the sellout crowd in Tokyo's Budokan. "Look at that," he said to me right before we took the stage. "We did it. They didn't come to see us, they came to hear our music." That would be my last concert with him. After that show he went back to his hotel room and died on the sofa. His words were prophetically correct. We had done what we'd set out to do.
#14 "Walking on Planet C with The BBC" - September 15, 2012
Over the last couple days, I've been Walking on Planet C with Paul McClean of BBC Radio, and my Jack-of-all-trades assistant Rich Hilton. Planet C is a term I've coined for life once cancer strikes. Walking is the main part of my therapy that I can control. It helps with my overall fitness and it's the peaceful time of the day that I have to myself. On my walks I never carry a music player because music is always inside my head - that music is always inspired by the sights and sounds I encounter on my walks.
#15 "Feeling So Shady" - April 24, 2012
Hey guys, it's D (IAmMisterD). Nile's in London taking over the world, but I had to hack the blog and share this with you guys (hope he doesn't mind!).
As many of you know, Nile worked on Adam Lambert's latest album, and the anticipation for their collaboration, "Shady" is just incredible!
Donna Summer: 'the real deal'. Photograph: Fin Costello/Redferns
Singer Donna Summer was a leading light of the 70s disco movement, as was guitarist Nile Rodgers of the band CHIC.
Before I knew who Donna Summer was, I walked into a nightclub in Greenwich Village with a girlfriend and the song that was playing was Love to Love You Baby. I'd never heard anything like it before. It sounded like an angel was whispering in my ear trying to seduce me on the dancefloor. Next day I went out and bought a copy and it just blew me away. This was about the time when I was trying to formulate the concept for Chic, and I would be less than honest if I tried to say that record didn't have a big influence on me.
Donna was what I would call a soul sister. She was sophisticated, she had great taste, she was beautiful, she was cool, and she could sing her ass off. She had this thing … a swagger, that's what it was. Donna and I were probably as close as could be in terms of respect and admiration, but we never made any recordings together, although it seems like it would have been the perfect pairing. We were cast from the same mould, if you will, and yet the first big artist Bernard Edwards and I worked with was Diana Ross, not Donna Summer. I'm not sure how that happened.
We only played together live once. It was a TV special for Diana Ross. Mariah Carey, Beyoncé and Donna Summer were on the show, and I was the music director. Go back and watch that performance on YouTube and just look what Donna did: she sang the paint off the walls, as we say in my style of music. Check the evidence, your honour: she absolutely killed it.
I didn't know Donna as a wild person. If she was, I never saw that part of her and, believe me, I was in the thick of it. Almost every time I saw Donna, it was in very genteel settings. She was spiritual, she was very protective of her family, she had a different life.
I was shocked when I heard the news. Maybe it hit me harder because I had no idea she was sick. I was doing a big show in Montreux, Switzerland, and I was hoping she'd perform with me. Her husband Bruce, who was her manager, said to me: "If Donna can make it, she'll be there." And then she was gone. I couldn't believe it.
Donna felt to me like a comet in the universe that came around and burned brightly and was reliable every time. She had a string of amazing hit records. It wasn't just Love to Love You Baby: albums such as Four Seasons of Love were incredibly well orchestrated and well thought out. I hope history winds up seeing Donna in the proper light, because she was the real deal: a mega musician. That comet burned out way too early.
Read the original article from The Guardian HERE
The first 100 people will be my guest FREE!
Many of us have so much to be thankful for and I feel this in the core of my soul. At this point in my life I try and give away as much as I can, maybe paradoxically, because I've lost so much. The original male CHIC band members have passed away save me. I pay homage to all they've given me by keeping the music of the CHIC Organization alive.
I'm grateful for every day of life that I have. Whenever I have an event, I love to have something that's free. My private party clients have allowed me to give away 100 tickets to an amazing corporate event. Usually, nobody but insiders are able to go to these type of parties. In a world where so many have so much and others have so little, it's very rewarding to be able to Give It Away Now!
My corporate We Are Family team in Milan!
Original CHIC Portrait
I pay homage by keeping the music of the CHIC Organization alive
Playing at one of the many FREE events I've done
Playing a free CHIC concert in Texas
Right before this pay event I held a free event in Australia
I've been in the Turks & Caicos Islands for the last few days
I've been in the Turks & Caicos Islands for the last few days. I'm airing out my brain and focusing on a new year of exciting projects. I usually come down here with a core east-coast group: Rose, Mark, and of course Nancy - and my west-coast friends Joyce and Michael Ostin, who worked on Madonna's Like A Virgin with me, and has been one of my best friends since.
I bring people whose company I really enjoy and always invite new folks to the Amanyara experience. It's during this quality time when I stop and count my blessings.
This trip I convinced my old friend Angela Yee, and new friend recording artist and upcoming TV star Lore'L, to take a real holiday. I know how important vacationing is to rejuvenating oneself. Like me, most of my friends are workaholics, and workaholics must be Forced to Relax.
Rose, Mark, and of course Nancy
My west-coast friends Joyce and Michael Ostin
Michael Ostin and I have been friends since the 80's and worked with Madonna together
I bring people whose company I really enjoy-Nancy w Sex and the City creator Darren Star at Da Conch Shack
Quality holiday time allows me to stop and count my blessings
I convinced my old friend Angela Yee get the full Turks & Caicos experience
Angela convinced her friend recording artist and upcoming TV star Lore'L to get into the total TCI experience
You are not legit on Turks & Caicos until you eat a conch pistol
Angela went first and Lore'l chumped out
Finally Lore'l Woman-ed up!
Lore'l almost lost her $hit but she made us proud and swallowed the pistol. Now she's down for life!
Lore'l about to recover...
Then she laughed it off, true gangsta style
The girls called Rose over to the pool
Rose goes to take a last swim with Ange and Lore'L before they leave
Rose, Angela, & Lore'l have their last dip together
Everyone hated to see them go but I know they'll be back because Amanyara forces you to relax!