What Nile Rodgers Taught Me About Getting Out More

This much is for certain: libraries ain't what they used to be.

Last night, our library in Westport, Connecticut honored long-time resident, Nile Rodgers, who recently picked up three Grammy Awards. There was a great band, and even a mirrored disco ball that came to life when the speeches were over and everyone got up to dance.

Nile began his career as a session guitarist in New York, toured with the Sesame Street band in his teens, and in the late 70s founded the band CHIC with bassist Bernard Edwards. From there, his career went crazy good. For example, their song “Le Freak” is still Atlantic Records’ only triple platinum selling single.

Nile went on to produce albums for Diana Ross, Madonna, David Bowie, Mick Jagger... trust me, this guy has led a blessed life.

But, to me, the interesting part was when Nile described why he likes Westport so much (he bought a house here in 1979).

Nile spoke joyfully about how creative our town is, and how much he enjoyed hanging out with all the creative folks in town. Like Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, otherwise known as Ashford & Simpson. Or Phil Donahue, the famous talk show host. Or Paul Newman.

Nile observed that since installing a recording studio in his house, he had recorded portions of most of his hit records in Westport. For example, when he was working on "Like a Virgin" with Madonna, neighborhood kids would come by dressed like Madonna, and peer in the windows.

Most days, I write articles here in Westport, taking breaks to go to the gym or meet someone for lunch or coffee. I pick up my son at soccer, and generally crisscross the 25 square miles of our town incessantly.

But apparently I travel on very narrow paths through town. Nile and I do not hang out on his boat. Phil Donahue doesn't text to say how much he liked my last piece. If David Bowie stops by to record "Let's Dance - The Sequel", I probably won't even notice.

I gotta get out more.

Image courtesy of WestportNow.