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March, 24

How fans can chat with a portrait of Nile Rodgers

How fans can chat with a portrait of Nile Rodgers

The National Portrait Gallery has launched the world's first talking portrait which allows fans to “meet” Nile Rodgers from the comfort of their own home.

For a £20 fee fans watching on computers and mobile phones can enjoy an audience with the Chic star, who will appear seated with his guitar and ready to respond to questions viewers speak into their devices.

The musician will seem to answer naturally in real time and talk candidly about working with David Bowie and Diana Ross during the online session, but the footage of Mr Rodgers is not live.

The images are the world’s first interactive digital portrait, and the star’s prerecorded answers are triggered by voice recognition technology to give the illusions of an intimate interview from the comfort and Covid safety of fans’ homes.

Two days of interviews based on 350 questions have created five hours of conversation with Mr Rodgers, with his anecdotes and response elicited by viewers as they speak to the online portrait.

Mr Rodgers said: “I hope this experience will help people understand more about my journey, my life in the music industry, and what I have been trying to say through my music. 

“It gives people I might never get to meet the opportunity to ask me questions and share thoughts in a completely new way. I love this because I believe that the foundations of music are human connections and a human story that needs to be told.”

The project developed by Universal Music UK, National Portrait Gallery, and Abbey Road Studios uses technology first rolled by the UK’s National Holocaust Centre and Museum to allow visitors to “speak” with survivors.

For a £20 fee on the National Portrait Gallery website fans can elicit responses from a cache of 350 prerecorded statements, or can try the technology for free with a limited range of interactions. 

Denise Vogelsang, director of digital at the National Portrait Gallery, said: "We are delighted to be associated with this pioneering project to produce this ground-breaking voice-interactive portrait. 

“By making this exciting new experience available on our website, we hope to be able to harness the benefits of the latest digital technologies to inspire new audiences and explore innovative forms of storytelling.”


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How fans can chat with a portrait of Nile Rodgers.

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