Photo by C Brandon/Redferns/Getty Images
The Recording Academy® Producers & Engineers Wing® will celebrate its eighth annual GRAMMY® Week event honoring three-time GRAMMY winner Nile Rodgers for his commitment to excellence and ongoing support for the art and craft of recorded music. Michael Ostin and Cameron Strang will serve as honorary event co-chairs at the event to be held on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, at The Village studios in West Los Angeles. GRAMMY Week culminates with the 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards® on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015, airing live on the CBS Television Network, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
"Our Producers & Engineers Wing members are passionate about sound quality, the importance of music creators, and most of all, the integrity of recorded music," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "This year, it is with great pride that we honor a musical icon who is the epitome of everything the P&E Wing represents. Nile Rodgers is not only a revered member of the music community but also a founding member of the Wing and we look forward to celebrating his astonishing career, which continues to reach new musical heights and inspire generations."
A musician, composer, arranger and guitarist, Rodgers is one of the most influential music producers in the history of popular music. He began his career as a session guitarist in New York, first toured as a teenager with the "Sesame Street" band, and played with the house band at Harlem's world famous Apollo Theater. In 1970 Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards met and formed the Big Apple Band. In 1977 the band changed their name to Chic and subsequently generated chart-topping hits such as "Le Freak," "I Want Your Love," "Everybody Dance," and "Good Times." Chic's success soon led to producing opportunities for Rodgers and Edwards, among them albums such as Sister Sledge's We Are Family and Diana Ross' Diana.
Following Chic's dissolution in 1983, Rodgers embarked on a solo production career that launched hits for artists such as David Bowie, INXS, Duran Duran, Madonna, Sheena Easton, Jeff Beck, the Thompson Twins, Mick Jagger, Grace Jones, Cyndi Lauper, Howard Jones, the B-52's, and Al Jarreau, among others. Rodgers' work with a variety of popular artists soon led to opportunities to share his distinct sound on film soundtracks such as Alphabet City, Gremlins, Against All Odds, That’s Dancing, White Nights, The Fly, White Hot, and Earth Girls Are Easy, in addition to collaborating with Peter Gabriel on Laurie Anderson's concert film Home Of The Brave. In 1988 Rodgers composed his first orchestral score for the film Coming To America.
In the '90s Rodgers produced the Vaughan Brothers Family Style, which was released shortly after the untimely death of guitar virtuoso Stevie Ray Vaughan, along with projects for Bowie, Eric Clapton, the B-52s, David Lee Roth, Ric Ocasek, Dan Reed Network, Cathy Dennis, Patty Griffin, Jimmie Vaughan, and The Stray Cats among others, along with continued soundtrack work on films such as Thelma and Louise, Cool World and Beavis And Butt-Head. In 1992, Rodgers and Edwards revisited Chic's roots and released a new album, Chic-Ism. In 1996 tragedy struck when, during a series of Chic concerts in Japan, Edwards contracted pneumonia and died, a blow that greatly affected Rodgers. Although devastated by the loss of his longtime musical partner and close friend, Rodgers ultimately regrouped and returned to playing live concerts and composing and producing music for film soundtracks including work on Beverly Hills Cop III, Blue Chips, The Flintstones, and Feeling Minnesota (including a collaboration with Bob Dylan).
Prompted by the Sept.11 tragedies, Rodgers created the We Are Family Foundation to help promote the healing process and organized a rerecording of "We Are Family," the GRAMMY Hall of Fame®-inducted song he and Edwards wrote for Sister Sledge. The rerecording was performed by more than 200 musicians, celebrities, and personalities and included a music video filmed by Spike Lee, a documentary filmed by Danny Schechter and a video version for kids that included more than 100 beloved children's characters. Rodgers has been recognized for his humanitarian efforts as well as music achievements by being honored with innumerable awards, among them The Recording Academy's NY Chapter's Heroes Award, induction into the Dance Music Hall of Fame, No. 1 Singles Producer In The World by Billboard, and the Winter Music Conference Lifetime Achievement award.
Rodger's career has seen a strong resurgence in the electronic dance community through his work with such acts as Avicii, Disclosure and Tensnake. His collaboration with Daft Punk on their album Random Access Memories garnered him three GRAMMY Awards for 2013 including Album Of The Year and Song Of The Year. Rodger's continues to tour worldwide and remains one of the most in-demand producers and artists of his time.
As the Producers & Engineers Wing 2015 honoree, Rodgers joins an impressive list of past honorees: Chris Blackwell; T Bone Burnett; Tom Dowd; Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun; Jimmy Iovine; Quincy Jones; Arif Mardin; Al Schmitt; Jerry Wexler; and Neil Young.