Listen to legendary studio engineer Susan Rogers on her unsung musical hero

We’re excited to share the latest episode of Unsung, our podcast with Sonos Radio where the world’s greatest artists reveal their heroes who never caught the spotlight.

So far in the series we’ve had Caroline Polachek discussing the lasting influence 1980s British pop band Prefab Sprout had on her work and Future Islands’ Samuel T. Herring on 90s alt-rock frontman Mark Sandman

Since then, former Crack Magazine cover star Beabadoobee was in conversation with gal-dem’s Music Editor Tara Joshi speaking about Filipino rock band The Itchyworms and Detroit hero DJ Stingray spoke to Christine Kakaire about Keith Tucker of Aux88.

Today, we are in conversation with a bonafide pop music legend. Dr. Susan Rogers is one of the world’s greatest sound engineers and record producers – and one of the tiny number of women in the profession. 

If you’ve ever had a dancefloor moment to When Doves Cry or Raspberry Beret by Prince, you can thank Susan. The technical force behind albums like Purple Rain, Sign o’ the Times and Around the World in a Day, she was with Prince through the sleepless nights and notorious 24-hour recording sessions of his commercial peak, from 1983 to 1987. 

In 1988, she left to produce other artists, resulting in some of the biggest hits of the 90s. She then took her earnings and went back to school, finally graduating from high school aged 44 and then obtaining a PhD in music and psychology. 

Susan’s Unsung choice is a band she produced, who she felt never reached the heights they deserved: Geggy Tah. A jazz, folk, alt and experimental indie duo comprised of Tommy Jordon and Greg Kurstin, together they released three albums over seven years on David Byrne’s label Luaka Bop – the first two produced by Susan. 

Susan speaks to journalist and broadcaster Chal Ravens about deep pockets, value systems and the neurobiology of creativity. 

Listen to the podcast in the player above and explore the Sonos Sound System Archive here and subscribe to Unsung here.

The series is produced by Eliza Lomas and mixed by Becky Street. The series leads are Duncan Harrison and Luke Sutton.