EP 227 | Susan Rogers

EP 227 | Susan Rogers

Susan Rogers is a neuroscientist and professor at Berklee College of Music and a mixer/engineer who’s worked with legends like Prince, David Byrne, and Barenaked Ladies among many others.

We’re thrilled to have Susan on to talk about music from a very different angle than what you’re probably used to: a deep dive on how to understand music on a neurological level, how she got her start working with Prince, how the definition of “success” can vary wildly for every one of us, and much more.

Susan’s unique point of view is thought provoking, refreshing, and guaranteed to give you plenty to think about. So if you’re ready to put your brain to work, press play on this episode and enjoy the ride!

“Too many artists are concerned simply with themselves and with getting the product on the shelf. They should be a concerned a lot more with the consumption of it. Who’s consuming it and why?” – Susan Rogers


1:40 – How to find the line between self-confidence and self-deception

9:35 – What evidence you can look to in order to know if you’re on the right path

16:10 – How artists should think about their audience, and what they can (and can’t) control about how people consume their music

23:48 – How to know when it’s time to put 110% effort into your work, and when it might be smarter to back off

32:50 – Why the concept of long-term thinking is such a struggle for most young people

35:38 – What we can learn from Prince’s approach to creativity

43:14 – The critical role of luck in your career, and how to create your own “luck”

45:24 – How Susan started with Prince in her late 20s, and why she saw the opportunity in it when others didn’t

59:12 -What Susan learned from going to college for the first time at 44 years old

1:04:27 – Why you must be willing to admit that you’ve changed your mind about what you want to do with your life

1:12:41 – Susan’s doctoral thesis on consonance and dissonance

1:17:05 – How the work from her thesis translates into making music

1:21:08 – Should musicians take the opinions of non-musicians seriously? Can non-musicians be successful producers?

1:33:38 – How our brains process music, and whether that’s changed over time

1:41:23 – Why being “tone deaf” is an abnormality

1:44:22 – The scientific point of view on why listeners lose interest in a song

1:51:55 – How to train your “auditory memory,” and how to reset your perception to regain objectivity while mixing

1:56:33 – Prince’s drum machine settings & his favorite guitar pedals


Susan Rogers On The Internet:

Susan’s Berklee page 


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