San Francisco - Greetings From The San Francisco Chapter Board: Suzanne Mino Koga

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Suzanne Mino Koga - Artist Manager/Music Marketing Consultant

San Francisco Secretary & Governor

How/When did you get your start?

My first paying music gig was singing for Don Ho when I was in high school. I sang in a variety of Waikiki showroom gigs including one in which I sang the Crystal Gayle hit, “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue!”

What was the most interesting experience you've had while working?

So many, so many. This past week, my mobile phone rang and it was Phil Ramone. I had to ask twice who he was because I could not believe that Phil Ramone was calling my mobile. Same thing, way back in 1987, when I was Roberta Flack's Persanal Assistant, instead of a Personal Manager. The office phone rang and it was Jacki Onasisis. And another time it was Liza Minelli, Dianna Ross, Quincy Jones. Meeting my heroes and knowing them personally continues to be inspiring and so very interesting.

What is the most interesting person you've worked with and why?

Roberta Flack. She, in my opinion, is the best female vocalist in terms of her vocal uniqueness, her musicality, and her ability to tell the story of a song in a way that people can feel, whether the audience is one person or one hundred thousand (seen both). She is such a champion for music education and her belief that music changes lives and is the international language is one that I have take in and made my own too.

Who is someone you would like to work with and why?

Bonnie Raitt, Roger Davies, Rick Rubin, Mark Zuckerberg because of their out of the box thinking, their accomplishments, their humanity, and their ability to change lives.

How does a band or artist become a brand?

By doing what they do best and not trying to ride trends. Examples: Roberta Flack, Tony Bennett, Bonnie Raitt.

What is your favorite piece of equipment and why?

Human voice for its ability to express emotion. With or without language, it communicates by sound over words.

Where/How do you hear about new music?

Everywhere. Planes, trains, automobiles, e-mails, elevators, restaurants. Thank you Shazam – too bad Embarker – ask me about this if you want.

What's the best part about the San Francisco music scene?

We are all so connected because we are a relatively small community. I love how we know each other and am grateful to be in the mix now. Wonderful people.

What artist or band should people know right now?

Wendy Colonna. She is my client. Although she is young, she is an old soul. Her words and music are full of hope, love and lessons. She has a vision and wisdom far beyond her years. Also, what a beautiful and rich voice.

What book would you recommend as a must read for someone?

"Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan. It changed my life as a daughter and now as a mother to my daughter. It has nothing to do with music, but has shaped who I am as a person in the continuity of my parents and being a parent.

What's a piece of advice you've learned that you wish someone had shared with you?

Attorney Peter Schukat said to me over 30 years ago that above all, your integrity is the most important thing, both in life and in business, especially music business. Careers and money come and go. Fortunes are made and lost. If you lose your integrity, it is almost impossible to get it back. In the end, love and integrity are what we are left with… and from a lawyer!