The musician and Chic co-founder said that black artists have historically struggled to escape being “pigeon-holed” in comparison to their white counterparts.
Rodgers told Metro Online: “A lot of artists have become wealthier and more famous quicker, but still black artists are basically… basically you have to drive in one lane and that is something I have always tried to fight.”
He continued: “It’s very difficult because if you’re pigeon-holed and you have to respond a certain way to be part of the current zeitgeist – that’s very difficult.
“When I worked with artists like David Bowie, he told me he never thinks about that. He said ‘I just think about what I’m feeling and what I’m seeing. I never worry about which audience is going to like it’, and I remember saying ‘Jesus, it must be amazing to be white.’”
Rodgers added that Bowie “wasn’t offended” by his comment, and that he “understood it completely”.
Rodgers, who is mentoring a new UK artist as part of a year-long scheme with Apple Music and The Ivors Academy, produced two of Bowie’s albums: 1983’s Let’s Dance and 1993’s Black Tie White Noise.
Among the Bowie tracks Rodgers produced were iconic numbers including “Modern Love” and “Cat People (Putting Out Fires)”.