Nile Rodgers reveals his most valuable lesson of music career

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Musician Nile Rodgers has said the most valuable lesson he has learned in his career has been to “not be a music snob”.

The Chic co-founder, 69, was speaking to fellow musician and pop star Rina Sawayama, 31, as part of British Vogue and YouTube’s Vogue Visionaries series, which has previously featured names like model Jourdan Dunn.

Asked by British-Japanese pop star Sawayama, whose hits include the Charli XCX collaboration Beg For You, about valuable career lessons, Rodgers said: “To not be a music snob. Any song, and I mean any song, in the top 40, is a great composition because it speaks to the souls of a million strangers.

“As an artist, that was the greatest lesson I ever got. I wanted to speak to the souls of a million strangers. Now I want to speak to the souls of a billion strangers.”

Sawayama’s debut studio album Sawayama was a critical success upon its release in 2020, with Sir Elton John describing it as his favourite of the year.

She spoke about her “unconventional pop journey”, telling Rodgers: “I didn’t have the grades to get into music school, you know the musical grades, so I studied real hard, got into Cambridge University, studied politics there.

“But after going to Cambridge, I knew that music was what I needed to do.

“I didn’t know how to produce, but I was going on YouTube so I learned the basics through there. It’s been a very unconventional pop journey for me.”

Sawayama’s second studio album, Hold The Girl, is set for release this September, with the title track and the singles This Hell and Catch Me In The Air released recently.

Reflecting on what advice she would give to new musicians, the singer said: “I really feel that things started going well for me when I really just stopped looking at what other people were doing.

“I would say, what is it that makes you you? Really keep that close and get technical and don’t get arrogant.”

The second series of the Vogue Visionaries sessions launched in May with beauty entrepreneur and YouTube creator Nikkie de Jager, known online as NikkieTutorials, and also featured make-up artist Val Garland.

Nile Rodgers and Rina Sawayama On Becoming a Music Icon video is available on the British Vogue YouTube channel.

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