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Prince’s Sound Engineer, Susan Rogers (ep. 516)

Susan Rogers

John O’Leary welcomes Susan Rogers, Prince’s sound engineer on the Live Inspired Podcast.

Susan Rogers is one of the most successful female record producers of all-time. Yet her journey to working with Prince during his iconic Purple Rain-era and other award-winning musical artists including the Barenaked Ladies and Rusted Root wasn’t always clearly laid out.

Today, Susan shares how her enthusiasm opened the first doors for her career in music and how she was able to make her mark in a male-dominated industry. Plus, having studied music cognition and psychoacoustics and earning her doctorate in psychology, you’ll learn insights about how and why our brains decipher music.

If you’re looking to deepen your connection to your favorite artists and change the way you listen to music, this conversation is for you.

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  • While attending her first concert (Led Zeppelin at The Forum in Los Angeles), before having to leave early, Susan vowed that she would return and mix live sound.
  • After becoming an audio technician, Susan landed her dream job with her favorite artist Prince and played at the Forum eight years later.
  • Be the dog: Sometimes you don’t have to solve the problem, you just need to sit next to them.
  • Even since childhood, Susan finds music to be grounding and an escape from the potentially dark and unrealistic place in our heads.
  • Although a novice in the music industry, Susan admits it was her enthusiasm, motive and desire that helped her land her first job at Audio Industries.
  • Like versus want: Liking a record is simply a cognitive appreciation yet wanting a record is something you will work and sacrifice to get.
  • “You don’t always get the dream you want. Sometimes you get the dream you didn’t know you had.”
  • “Music is an expression of life. Life is not perfect. It’s simple and complex. It’s robust and fragile.”
  • During our formative years, we develop emotional bonds with the music we listen to because it’s often a companion during seasons of change.
  • What is your personal listener profile? Get a copy of Susan Rogers’ This Is What It Sounds Like.

Did you enjoy today’s episode?

You’ll love my conversation with Evy Pompouras. As a former U.S. Secret Service Special Agent, Evy has worked protective detail for four U.S. Presidents and is trained by the Department of Defense in the art and science of lie detection, human behavior and cognitive influence. My conversation with Evy will spark inspiration to find the strongest, fearless version of yourself. Listen to ep. 228 here.


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  1. Q. What is the best album you’ve ever listened to?
    A. Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. Daydreaming.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. A picture of my late Boston Terrier Gina.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. Charles Darwin.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. Graham Nash told me to “knock on 20 doors and one will open”.
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. Trust yourself.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. I worked very hard.