Today I did a TV special called Unsung
Today I did a TV show called Unsung. It's a really exceptional music series and I've watched several of them on YouTube. During one of the breaks between shooting, I checked my email and I'd gotten a letter that made my heart jump for joy. It was from Luci Martin, who was in the second incarnation of the CHIC Organization (from C'est CHIC to Believer). She talked about how much we used to laugh, the true love we have for one another, and how that love will never go away. She didn't have to say that because I've always known that, but it was nice to read. I have deep unending love for her and every CHIC alumni.
My dearest Lulu, your email was perfectly timed. It hyped me up better than a Starbucks Double Espresso Macchiato. I ran back down to my basement where the camera crew was set up and finished the four-hour long interview about the history of disco with clarity, gusto, and a big smile on my face.
I'm grateful for a life where I've been able to work with some extraordinarily talented people which continues To This Very Day.
The entire early CHIC Organization at dinner in San Remo. Karen Milne (violinist) front left, and Luci Martin with wine bottle
C'est CHIC album cover
CHIC album cover Believer
The two cameras that recorded my four-hour Unsung disco diatribe
I'm grateful for a life where I've been able to work with some extraordinarily talented people which continues To This Very Day
A t-shirt a fan gave me in Ireland after one of our shows
After I finished my last show I had one hour to pack. I then had to travel all night and day before I finally got home to my own bed. The show had taken place in Liss Ard, Cork County Ireland. It was near the town of Skibbereen and it wasn't exactly easy to get to or from.
When I finally arrived home I checked my email. The very first message was a clip that someone had shot of me during a book signing event in Belfast, Ireland shot a few days ago.
The clip starts in the middle of me answering a question about what it was like to work with Stevie Ray Vaughan and it continued with the story of the song "Let's Dance" by David Bowie. It was the first song Stevie Ray had heard from what would be The Then Next Bowie Album.
Nile Rodgers in Belfast on David Bowie and Let's Dance
Irish fans waiting for autographs
On the street with fans in the town of Skibbereen
People from our last show at Liss Ard
Some of the Liss Ard crowd
After our last show I had just one hour to pack
Thank you for another amazing week! And now, home. Cork > Manchester > NYC.
The final stop this week is Cork, Ireland for the Liss Ard Festival. En route - Malaga, Spain to Cork, Ireland
Thus far I've only gigged in the Republic of Ireland
Thus far I've only gigged in the Republic of Ireland, Galway, Cork, Dublin, and our first gig at the Electric Picnic. They've all been amazing. I'm so looking forward to coming back there to play the Button Factory in Dublin, but also performing in Northern Ireland for the first time. We have a large group from Belfast that show up at CHIC shows in England. I did a keynote speech in Belfast for Music Week that kicked off the MTV Awards, but there is nothing like connecting with the people through performing our songs for me.
Our set list will most likely include not only music by my group CHIC, but a number of records I've written and produced for others that CHIC played on originally: David Bowie, Sister Sledge, INXS, Madonna, Diana Ross, Sheila and B Devotion (He's a "Spacer"), and maybe a few others depending on the vibe of the crowd.
I'm guessing Belfast is going to be as breathtaking as our gigs in the Republic. The power of music supersedes economics and politics. When I was younger I'd save my pennies to hear the music that moved me because the experience enriched my spirit. The sole purpose of our music is to move your hearts, feet, and your A$$es.
When we arrive on the largest island in Europe, We're Coming to FREAKOUT!
THE GALWAY SHOW WAS JUST ABOUT PERFECT!
Don Harris and Bill Holloman in perfect sync in Galway
We always invite the audience up on stage at the end
Irish fans getting their groove on
Getting a kiss in sheer pandemonium. The Irish crowd was FANTASTIC! We played things we'd never played before
Backstage with three Irish sisters. Love the dark hair and blue eyes
Jerry Barnes killing it on "We Are Family" -Kim, Nile, & Folami in bkg
We're coming to Ireland to FREAKOUT!
Next stop Yorkshire, UK (via Manchester) for the Magic Loungeabout! Then Camp Bestival, Belfast, Dublin and more. It's Back to Europe!
Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven
A few hours after this blog post goes out I'll be heading to yet another cancer specialist - one who's also a neurologist because it's clear that I have some nerve damage. When I talked about my first cancer incident it was during a concert with Earth, Wind, and Fire when I lost muscle strength in my right hand. My strength has improved but never fully recovered - on the other hand for years I'd suffered partial neuropathy in my left heel but after doing therapy for the cancer recovery it's completely healed. (No pun intended. Go figure?)
The human body is amazing, wonderful, and complicated. Tomorrow, I'm playing a concert in NYC at Lincoln Center, and immediately after flying back to Ireland to play a series of concerts, then I go back over to England, followed by a show in Monaco, and all in just the next few weeks.
I'm not complaining. I have the greatest job in the world. I get to play and hang with some of the coolest people on earth. Look at the happy faces in this post. Believe this: as happy as the fans are - I'm twice as happy to be there playing this music I love so much.
And you have my word that I'll funk my heart out until My Dying Day.
We're playing a CHIC concert in NYC at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
I'm flying back to Ireland to play a series of concerts
More happy faces
Happy people in France
A happy woman in Juan-les-Pins
Believe this - as happy as the fans are - I'm twice as happy to be there playing this music I love so much
Today, I'll be hoping back across the pond for a show in New York City and then it's back to Europe for us! My flights today are Nice > Paris > NYC.
Arriving at the Montreux Jazz Festival to put the finishing touches on Freakout! Montreux
Freakout! Montreux was a show that I curated at the 2012 Montreux Jazz Festival. It started on the evening of July 13 and ended in the wee hours of the morning of July 14. It featured a huge roster of multifaceted talents that pushed the boundaries of the musical status quo.
Over the next few days I'll feature some lo-res unedited clips to give you a sense of one of the greatest days of my life. It took months to plan but the vibe was so amazing that I'm already working on next year's version.
Many of you may not know that I was attacked by very aggressive cancer about twenty-months ago and it's been the greatest struggle of my life. But I'll just keep planning for the next gigs - because Death Has It's Own Plan.
Mark Ronson said it would be his dream for Alison Moyet, Johnny Marr and CHIC to play his arrangement of "Stop Me" - He said that Johnny and I are his two fav guitarist - Here's a little snippet
After months of planning I could see my vision starting to come true
The Freakout! Montreux plan included legends Dimitri from Paris & Ultra Naté
The team worked like a well-oiled machine - Ultra Naté ripped it up while I was in heaven
The A-Team Sooze, Claude, & Tess
Every detail was planned
We even designed the fruit
Going over last minute details with Scarlett Etienne who played keyboards, sang, and DJ'd in the opening
The one and only Martha Wash sound checking
Me and French disco legend Marc Cerrone having a laugh at sound check
La Roux's Elly Jackson going "In For The Kill"
Me and Tavares go over the opening number
Felix da Housecat assuring me that he's got it covered
And Grace and her son Paulo turned it out!
The whole team WORKED HARD to make this night perfect
Many things have caused major changes my life - seeing Bryan Ferry and Roxy music in the mid 70's was one
Many things have caused major changes my life, and over the next few weeks you will see one of them: Freakout! Montreux. This was a multi-act show that I curated at the 2012 Montreux Jazz Festival. When I was a youngster I took to the guitar like a duck to water. I didn't pick up the instrument until I was sixteen years old - but by nineteen I was a working session jazz guitarist touring with TV's Sesame Street.
At around twenty-three years of age, my then girlfriend and I walked into a disco and I heard continuous music for the first time. It was the beginning of the disco revolution and my personal evolution. In a matter of a few short months I'd evolve into a composer, arranger, and producer of funky dance based groove hits. In less than a decade I was honored as Billboard Magazine's # 1 Single's Producer.
This year, the CEO of the Montreux Jazz Festival Claude Nobs wanted to honor me, but I wanted to honor the music that changed my life. A basic characteristic of anything is to evolve. As I absorbed more technical information my musical calling became clearer and more heightened.
When I entered the dance music scene it was open to everybody. I saw it as the highest form of communication between human beings. We all spoke the same language and had the same philosophy: If it moved people's souls to get them up and dancing - it worked! We didn't need critics and experts to explain it to us. The people are the experts!
As dance music evolves, the genres are as varied as single-celled organisms - but It Never Dies, It Multiplies.
A lo-res snippet from Freakout! Montreux of "Tell It To My Heart" by Taylor Dayne, diva of freestyle AKA Latin hip-hop and electro: a form of dance music that blew up in New York, Miami, and New Jersey in the early 80's.
Freakout! Montreux Sound check
This was a multi- act show that I curated at the 2012 Montreux Jazz Festival
Billboard Magazine Award
Claude Nobs the CEO of the Montreux Jazz Festival wanted to honor me this year
I see dance music as the highest form of communication between human beings
The people are the experts!
We just multiply- Alison Moyet, me, Johnny Marr, and Mark Ronson
We just multiply - CHIC and Elly Jackson of La Roux
We just multiply - Tavares
We just multiply - Claude Nobs and dj Scarlett Etienne
We just multiply - Selan from CHIC with the voice that launched a thousand hits, Martha Wash
We just multiply - Me, Mark Ronson, Claude Nobs, and Quincy Jones
We just multiply - Grace Jones
We just multiply - Quincy Jones, world-champ female beatboxer Butterscotch, and Ultra Naté
We just multiply - Dimitri from Paris (red jacket), Marc Cerrone (white hair), Claude Nobs, & Taylor Dayne getting they're dance on
We just multiply - me with dj extraordinaire Felix da Housecat
We just multiply - Me with Patrick Juvet