Synopsis: You will hear a Nile Rodgers song today. It will make you happy. Legendary producer and co-founder of Chic, Nile wrote ‘We are Family’ for Sister Sledge and ‘I’m Coming Out’ for Diana Ross, and then produced Let’s Dance for David Bowie and Like a Virgin for Madonna. But before he reinvented pop music Nile Rodgers invented himself. Le Freak is an astonishing, exuberant and inspiring story of a creative genius. It is also a stunning recreation of a time and place – by the man who wrote its soundtrack.
Title: Le Freak : An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny
Author: Nile Rodgers
As a general rule, I tend not to read autobiographies – I find them to have a very ‘photo shopped’ image of the person in question and it all rings a little false to my ears. So when I was given Le Freak to read on an internship, it went straight to the bottom of the TBR pile. In fact, it stayed at the bottom for over a year. I lent it to a friend, who really enjoyed it, and six months later decided to give it a try myself.
When I started the book I had a general idea of who Nile Rodgers was, I’d obviously heard his music before, but had never put the song to the name. Once I started reading and learning about all the different types of music he produced, I was honestly awed at how talented this guy was. After reading about his childhood, I can’t really see how he couldn’t have been anything else.
Rodger’s had what you would – as a complete understatement – call an unusual childhood. Born in New York, 1952 to a 14-year-old mother, Nile grew up in a truly bohemian environment, surrounded by drug users, jazz musicians, gamblers and other colourful characters.
As his story progresses, you realise just how much of a ‘Dude’ this guy was. There is simply no other word adequate to describe him; he comes across as a confident, friendly person, who found his calling in music and was lucky (and stubborn) enough to achieve a successful career in it.
I found Le Freak to be shocking, enlightening, sometimes even witty; it’s a compelling and engaging read that I would definitely recommend.