Maybe he can’t claim a quarter billion Instagram followers like Beyoncé, or pack tens of thousands of shrieking fan into stadiums the way 78-year-old Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones still do, but make no mistake, kids, Nile Rodgers is bona fide music industry royalty, a legendary powerhouse whose influence over popular music runs deep and wide over five decades of chucking on his 1960 Fender Stratocaster, collaborating with industry icons, and writing and producing songs that have helped shape and define generations.
Rodgers co-founded the seminal disco band Chic, whose 1978 anthem “Le Freak” is such an important and enduring totem of the era that, in 2018, it was preserved as a “culturally, historically, or artistically significant” artifact in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress.
He’s also written and/or produced scores of hits for other icons of the industry, including Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family,” Diana Ross’s “Upside Down,” and Duran Duran’s “The Reflex.” He produced Madonna’s 1984 breakout album, “Like a Virgin,” and called Lady Gaga “incredibly respectful” after he worked with her on a cover version of Chic’s 1978 hit ditty “I Want Your Love.” (He later gifted Gaga with a $100,000 guitar!)
In 2014, the seven-time Grammy nominee took home a trio of wins for his work with the French EDM duo Daft Punk, including the Album of the Year award for the “Random Access Memories,” and he still performs with Chic, now called Nile Rodgers & Chic. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017; in 2018, he and entrepreneurial music manager Merck Mercuriadis co-founded the UK-based Hipgnosis Songs Fund, a publicly traded music IP investment and song management concern whose catalog was valued in late 2021 at more than $2.5 billion; he currently serves as chairman of the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Despite his outsized influence, Rodgers and his long-time life partner, photographer Nancy Hunt, have long lived a relatively low-key life in tony Westport, Conn., in a five-bedroom and four-and-a-half-bath waterfront home Rodger’s has owned for decades, and that has recently come up for sale at $5.25 million.
Described in listings held by Shelly Tretter Lynch and Chris Gugelmann, both with Compass Connecticut, as having a “deep water dock and deep musical history” the 4,100-square-foot home is a relaxed repository of industry memorabilia and personal memories, such as the portrait of Rodgers and frequent collaborator and close friend David Bowie that hangs in a corner of the living room. The airy room also has a fireplace, a cathedral ceiling, and a wall of windows that look out over the water.
Other highlights include an updated eat-in kitchen, a cozy library/den, a mirrored and wood-paneled dining room, and an intimate reading nook nipped under the stairs, where one wall is hung with more than a dozen gold, silver, and platinum records. Listings also call out an indoor dipping/exercise pool, a gym, a family room loft, and a 1,500-square-foot basement easily converted to additional living space.
The back of the house wraps around three sides of a deck that leads to a tree-shaded expanse of lawn that slopes gently towards the half-acre spread’s private deep-water dock on Bermuda Bay.
Most notable, however, is the recording studio where Rodger’s penned David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” and the score for the film “Coming to America.” Over the years, legendary artists like Blondie, Slash, and good ol’ Mick Jagger have visited the studio, making this hallowed ground.
Rodgers, 69, and Hunt have recently looked to thin their holdings in other ways, as well; last year, they took in close to $1.65 million when Christie’s auctioned a few of Rodger’s vintage cars and dozens of rare guitars, along with some custom and designer clothing and production equipment, with all proceeds benefitting their non-profit We Are Family Foundation.
Rock on, Mr. Rodgers.