‘Purple Rain’ Sound Engineer Explores Music In Brewster Talk

by Jennifer Sexton-Riley
Susan Rogers. Susan Rogers.

We all know the pleasure of listening to a favorite song which really seems to speak to the heart and soul. But what do your favorite songs say about you?

Arts Empowering Life offers a unique — and free — opportunity to connect with a pop music legend as Susan Rogers, the multi platinum-earning record producer, engineer, mixer and audio technician known for her work on Prince’s innovative and award-winning 1984 “Purple Rain” album, speaks in-person at the Performing Arts Center in Brewster. Rogers will explore the subject of listening to music and what the music you love says about you.

Rogers holds a doctoral degree in experimental psychology. Prior to her science career, she was a successful record producer, engineer, mixer and audio technician best known for her work with Prince. Her production/engineering credits also include David Byrne, Barenaked Ladies, Geggy Tah, Nil Lara, Robben Ford, Tricky, Michael Penn, and Jeff Black. In 2021 she became the first female recipient of the Music Producer’s Guild Award for Outstanding Contributions to U.K. Music. She recently retired from Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she taught psychoacoustics and record production in the department of music production and engineering. Her book on music listening is titled “This Is What It Sounds Like: What the Music You Love Says About You.”

Performing Arts Center Program Coordinator Paul Tingley said he is excited about Rogers’ visit, which he thinks will appeal to a wide range of people.

“Her understanding of all types of music and her neuroscientific studies will be fascinating, let alone hearing her story of how she got into the business of both sound engineering and neuroscience,” Tingley said. “This should have appeal to the general public as everyone listens to music, whether or not they have the musical background to read it or to perform it. Everyone reacts to different types of music with an emotional response. I will be curious to see what she shares about that.”

As part of her presentation, Rogers will do a "record pull," meaning she will ask a couple of people to name their favorite record. Everyone will then listen to it collectively as an audience, and Rogers will explore why the listeners responded to that particular record.

“So I would encourage everyone to do a little bit of thinking before they come, in case they get the opportunity to offer their music of choice,” Tingley said.

No tickets are required for this free in-person and livestreamed event. The Performing Arts Center is located at 95 Southern Eagle Cartway, Brewster. For more information, including upcoming events, visit performingartscentercapecod.org or call 508-240-2400.