Get­ting lucky

The man re­spon­si­ble for one of the catchi­est songs of the year prom­ises to de­liver more.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - R.AGE - By VIVI­ENNE WONG allther­age@thes­tar.com.my

NILE Rodgers was one of the most sought af­ter pro­duc­ers of the 1980s and 90s, hav­ing re­ceived love calls from iconic artistes such as Madonna, David Bowie, Diana Ross, Du­ran Du­ran and Michael Jack­son.

But this has been a good year for Rodgers, es­pe­cially af­ter he worked with French elec­tro act Daft Punk on their highly suc­cess­ful Ran­dom Ac­cess Mem­o­ries al­bum.

Rodgers co-wrote and laid some of his trade­mark gui­tar riffs on three of the al­bum’s sin­gles – Get Lucky, Lose Your­self To Dance and Give Life Back To Mu­sic. He has also col­lab­o­rated with some of the top dee­jays in the world, in­clud­ing Avicii and David Guetta.

His de­ter­mi­na­tion to put out more records came af­ter Rodgers was di­ag­nosed with prostate can­cer three years ago. “They were telling me to get my af­fairs in or­der.

“And it was funny be­cause when the doc­tor said to get my af­fairs in or­der, I thought he meant mak­ing more records!” said the 61-year-old, who an­nounced on Twit­ter in July that he was clear of can­cer. “I didn’t want to go out like my bi­o­log­i­cal father, who’s a great mu­si­cian. I have no mu­si­cal mem­o­ries of him, there was noth­ing recorded, noth­ing writ­ten down, no manuscripts. So it’s gone, and I said, ‘Well, I’m go­ing to over­load you with mu­sic’.”

With all his suc­cess, it is only fit­ting that the leg­endary Rodgers, who was in town for the Chic Fea­tur­ing Nile Rodgers con­cert in Kuala Lumpur last week, was in­vited for a spe­cial one hour Red Bull Mu­sic Acad­emy Ses­sion, where he shared his jour­ney as a mu­si­cian and record pro­ducer and, of course, demon­strated some skills on his 1959 Fender Stra­to­caster, known as The Hit­maker.

Speak­ing about his ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with Tim Ber­gling, aka Avicii, Rodgers ad­mit­ted it was no dif­fer­ent from work­ing with “the most es­o­teric jazz or clas­si­cal mu­si­cians”.

“That was how I com­posed with Avicii. It’s ex­actly the same way. If you took a pic­ture and looked at Avicii and I in a room to­gether, it would look the same as me and John McLaugh­lin in a room to­gether,” he re­vealed.

“But when I’m talk­ing with Tim, I’m giv­ing him mu­si­cal chunks and then he dis­sects it, but then af­ter that it be­comes part of his knowl­edge base. That’s why we ride like crazy.”

It may seem odd that Rodgers, who grew up in a jazz mu­sic en­vi­ron­ment, would try dance and elec­tronic mu­sic, but the risk sure paid off when Ran­dom Ac­cess

Mem­o­ries hit it big, reach­ing the top spot in a to­tal of 24 charts around the world. But none of it would have hap­pened if it weren’t for the wise words of his jazz teacher.

“He said to me, ‘Nile, you seem in the dumps to­day’ and I said, ‘yeah, I don’t feel so great be­cause this week­end, I got to do these two Boogaloo gigs,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Rodgers, “Boogaloo, it’s a deroga­tory term for R&B”, which wasn’t some­thing that he wanted to play.

“I said, ‘I’ll be play­ing bull****’. And as soon as I said that, he looked at me and went, ‘ you’re play­ing bull****? You mean to tell me, peo­ple are pay­ing you money to hear bull****?’

“And I was like ‘ yeah, I got to play the Top 40’.

“‘You mean like those 40 records that have prob­a­bly sold a mil­lion copies? So you’re say­ing that those mil­lion peo­ple are stupid but you, Nile Rodgers, are smart. Wow, I’ve never heard any­thing so ego­tis­ti­cal in my life’.

“He said, ‘Nile, let me ex­plain some­thing to you. Any record that sells over a mil­lion copies is a great song. That doesn’t mean you have to like it. But it’s a great song be­cause it has the power to con­nect to more than a mil­lion peo­ple when that artiste is not stand­ing in the room.

“‘This per­son has recorded some­thing and that mes­sage is so pow­er­ful that when (the artiste is) not there, (peo­ple are) con­sum­ing their in­for­ma­tion, their art form. You should be proud play­ing their mu­sic’.”

Rodgers also went on to credit his child­hood, where he was “never afraid”.

“I’ll never lis­ten to a song and think I can’t fix it. Never.

“You got to be­lieve in your­self, be­lieve in part­ners and don’t be afraid. If I make mis­takes, that’s just all part of the learn­ing process. All of my teach­ers taught me that you couldn’t get good un­less you screw up. You got to make mis­takes. That’s my phi­los­o­phy.”

rodgers shares his jour­ney as a mu­si­cian and a record pro­ducer with a room filled with mem­bers of the malaysia mu­sic scene.

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