Nile Rodgers – Crisis Cures

December 2, 2022. Series 7. Episode 53

Legendary musician Nile Rodgers has endured and managed dramatic crises for him and his loved ones throughout his life. Here he gives us his three top Crisis Cures for when life unravels. You can listen to this valuable conversation in full and all previous episodes, here or wherever you get your podcasts.


Nile’s Crisis Cures:

1st Crisis Cure – Work – I look to my art and my work.

2nd Crisis Cure – Simple exercises – I train myself to do something new to make my body and brain aware.

3rd Crisis Cure – Music – John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’.  It puts me in a space where the world becomes a peaceful place.




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Host – Andy Coulson.

CWC production team: Louise Difford, Ed Isaacs and Jane Sankey.

With Special thanks to Global.


Full transcript:

00:00:02 Andy Coulson:
Hello and welcome to our first crisis cure. Short but perfectly formed advice for getting
through the tough times, delivered to you from one of the amazing guests that we’ve had
on the podcast over the last two years.

00:00:13 Andy Coulson:

At the beginning of 2020, I had the absolute pleasure of speaking with the legendary
musician Nile Rodgers. At the time, Nile was still grieving the death of his beloved mother,
desperately frustrated at being unable to lay her to rest due to the sheer Covid related
casualties in New York at the time. He was clearly struggling with the impact of her loss, and
our conversation was, Well, it was frank. It was open. It was incredibly moving.

00:00:41 Andy Coulson:

When I asked Nile for his Crisis Cures, unsurprisingly it was his work, which he cited as the
first and foremost that brought him the greatest comfort in times of trouble. It did the
same for those of us listening of course and I told Nile how ‘Get Lucky’ became a bit of a
family anthem in our house at a time when I was feeling anything but.

00:01:05 Andy Coulson:

Nile, it also turns out is a crisis manager, the first person to run towards the gunfire when
there’s trouble. And there has been plenty, both for his family and his friends. Nile says he
gets as much from those moments as the person facing crisis and that making a difference
gives him a sense of purpose.

00:01:23 Andy Coulson:

He’s also a man who believes in the massively undervalued power of small tasks. The
comfort of perfecting something seemingly insignificant for no other reason than to see if
you can do it, and to bank the sort of micro satisfactions that it gives you.

00:01:38 Andy Coulson:
And finally, he gives us such a cracking third crisis cure the perfect piece of crisis music
with a brilliant explanation to boot. I’ll let the man himself tell you all about it. I hope you
enjoy this crisis cure episode and if you like what you hear please subscribe and give us a
rating and review. It really helps make sure that these stories are heard by people just like

00:02:02 Nile Rodgers:

Yeah, unfortunately I’m a real loner, even though I have wonderful people around me. But I
go to my guitar, I go to my music, I go to my art, that really helps me. I also look towards my
work. I say to myself I need to be better; I need to get well because this person needs my
help. And even if they’re really famous and they don’t really need my help, I make myself
believe that. Because for me having a job to do makes me feel that I have to be subordinate
to the situation rather than be subordinate to my own ego and my own needs. And that
really helps me a great deal.

00:02:57 Nile Rodgers:

And the other thing, believe it or not, is I just do very simple exercises to not overly tax me
because I’m not trying to get all buffed or anything like that. But I just do simple things to
make my body and brain aware. And I’m going to give you a perfect example: right now I’ve
been, so I’m sixtyeight years old, right? And right now I’m now training my left hand to
snap because I’ve never been able to snap my left finger. I can do [snap], [snap],
[snap],[snap], I can conduct an orchestra with that [snap], [snap], [snap], no matter what
tempo like that. But my left hand [snap], [snap], [snap], I’m just starting to get and it’s

00:03:48 Andy Coulson:

How long have you been doing this?

00:03:50 Nile Rodgers:

About three weeks now.
00:03:52 Andy Coulson:

00:03:53 Nile Rodgers:

And before you couldn’t get an audible sound [snap], [snap], [snap]. But I got an audible
sound, not quite that [snap], [snap], [snap], [snap], it’s not that but I’m not going to stop
until [snap], [snap], [snap], [snap], they sound the same [snap], [snap], [snap].

00:04:13 Andy Coulson:

This is a great demonstration of the power of small tasks, right?

00:04:17 Nile Rodgers:

And this is [snap], [snap], [snap], what it’s doing is it’s making a side of my brain work that
normally would not be doing this. And if you do that I’ve found that if you teach yourself to
write with your left hand and you’re right handed or vice versa, or you teach yourself to do
something the other way around, like I might even turn my guitar over and try and start
playing left handed. That’s a big task, I may not go that far.

00:04:46 Nile Rodgers:

That you don’t know how huge that is Listen One day it’s going to be that.

00:04:56 Andy Coulson:

Yeah, Amazing.

00:04:58 Andy Coulson:

Nile, just you know, I’ve mentioned Get Lucky being a crisis anthem for me, I’m only going
to allow you one, what is your go to crisis song?
00:05:13 Nile Rodgers:
Oh, not even a thought, John Coltrane, A Love Supreme.

00:05:19 Andy Coulson:

Amazing, and has been for a long time?

00:05:23 Nile Rodgers

Since I was a teenager. It puts me in a space where it just ‘de, de, de lerrrh de’. Right away it
just like, the world becomes a peaceful place. Probably if they were going to put me in front
of a firing squad and they say, ‘would you like to have your last meal or your last cigarette?’
I’d say ‘no man, just play the, play the head dude, play the beginning of the Love Supreme.
I’ll close my eyes and play it and you guys shoot away.’

00:05:53 End of transcription