Nile Rodgers says Professor Stephen Hawking inspired the name of his new album.

The 65-year-old record producer is set to release his first album with Chic in 26 years later this month and Nile - whose new record features appearances from the likes of Lady Gaga, Sir Elton John, Emeli Sande, Craig David and Hailee Steinfeld - has revealed how the album was given the name 'It's About Time'.

He told The Sun newspaper: ''I came up with the album title before David [Bowie] and Prince died, and maybe even before Michael [Jackson] died, or right after.

''Then I find myself talking to Stephen Hawking about how time is the most important measurement in the universe and, of course, I've always loved a ­double entendre in a title and obviously it's about time I put out an album.''

Nile also explained his motivation behind releasing the album, saying that surviving two cancer scares has led him to reconsider his priorities.

He said: ''I've survived cancer twice. It makes you think about your mortality, and you do always want to make sure you're not forgotten.

''Making an album is a solid, tangible thing. It's making the whole movie, not just making trailers.''

One of the tracks on the new album - which is scheduled for release on September 28 - is a duet featuring Elton and Emeli on a song called 'Queen', which was actually written for Diana Ross in 1983.

Revealing the story behind the track, Nile explained: ''The song was inspired by her but she said, 'I can't sing it. If I sing a song called 'Queen', they're really going to think I'm a diva'.

''I said, 'The song is not about you, it's because of you.'''