The biggest winners of the night were also the most silent. It’s unsurprising that the duo Daft Punk didn’t lift their helmets to collect their bounty of Grammys, which included album and record of the year, leaving mostly Pharrell Williams to do the honor.
Backstage two of their collaborators, Paul Williams and Nile Rodgers, were reveling in their big night.
For Rodgers the evening was especially poignant. In 2011 the legendary disco-funk producer-songwriter and Chic guitarist was stricken with “aggressive” prostate cancer (he documented it on a blog). He turned to music as he healed.
“My approach to my therapeutic process was to do more music than I’ve ever done in my life. I have made, over the last three years, more songs, I’ve played more concerts, performed before more people than in any three year period of my life,” Rodgers said. “For those who know anything about my career that’s a lot. The music has been healing.”
Rodgers said the multiple wins were still sinking in — despite his storied career.
“I’ve had a career of a lot of No. 1 records and a lot of records that have been nominated and a lot that have won, but they weren’t in a category that the producer or the composer got the Grammy,” he said. “So for me to get three is overwhelming. And I honestly don’t know how to respond.
“All I was looking forward to, the truth, was performing with Stevie Wonder and playing with the guys that made the record. And now there’s this big moment for me,” Rodgers added, his smile widening. “I feel a little bit like a kid. Normally I am fairly intellectual, however I’m blown away.”
Williams, whose contribution “Touch” is one of “Random Access Memories’ ” highlights, applauded the French duo for exploring different textures on the album.
“What I loved was they were courageous enough to do something with a little more emotional depth,” he said. “I’m 73 years old, the last thing you expect is to get a call from a couple of robots to record an album with them.
“I’m having a very good life,” Williams said with a laugh.