Nile Rodgers was honored with the 2017 Award for Musical Excellence at this year’s Rock and Roll Hall Fame Induction Ceremony. The lavish event was held at Barclays Center and saw the legendary hitmaker being celebrated by one his most famous disciples and collaborators in Pharrell Williams.
“Nile Rodgers never needed to be the flashy showman trying to upstage anyone,” Pharrell said during his tribute. “His ethos has always been putting the artist first, placing himself in the background and happily ceding the spotlight.
“But not tonight, Nile.”
Rodgers took the stage and spoke about his life and career’s journey.
“I’m a New Yorker. I was born not very far away from where we’re standing now,” Rodgers shared. “It’s funny, I was saying to Pharrell almost everybody on this stage, as a matter fact almost everybody who’s been in the Rock and Roll Hall Fame, I’ve worked with.”
With his legendary band Chic, Rodgers and his late former partner Bernard Edwards became chart-topping hitmakers. After they disbanded, Rodgers carved out his own legacy as a writer and producer. But despite his achievements, his former band has famously been looked over 11 times for Hall Fame induction.
From Diana Ross to David Bowie to Daft Punk, Rodgers has worked with a litany legendary artists over the years, and he acknowledged during his speech that many times, he’s been overlooked by critics and fans. And he explained how he approaches working with superstars.
“When people work with me, they think that I’m the boss,” Rodgers said. “But believe me, every record I do I join the band. I try and make every artist believe that all I have is their best interest at heart. I remember saying to Madonna, when we finish this record it’s going to say MADONNA whispers] produced by Nile Rodgers. My name doesn’t mean shit; it’s going to be this big.
“This award, which is amazing to me, is really because all the people that have allowed me to come into their lives and just join their band. Be it Mick Jagger, be it Madonna, be it Duran Duran, be it Daft Punk, be it Pharrell Williams, be it Diana Ross, be it Sister Sledge. I mean it just goes on and on and on. Thank you all.”