Sue Hadjopoulos

Long recognized as a major talent among music professionals (and probably the only Greek-Puerto Rican percussionist in the industry today!), Sue Hadjopoulos has added her distinctive percussive sounds and backing vocals to many of today’s hottest Latin, rock and pop acts.

Growing up in a musical family, Sue began her musical career on flute with 6 years of classical training before switching to drums and percussion.  At 17, she did her first professional gig on drums.  She continued to do a variety of session work, while also pursuing a top flight academic career, and went on to attain a degree with honors in Anthropology at Barnard College, Columbia University. She continued post graduate studies at Mannes College of Music in Manhattan.  She also attended BMI’s Lehman-Engel Musical Theater Workshop as a librettist and composer/lyricist.

She studied Latin percussion privately with Hector (Flaco) Hernandez, Louie Bauzo and Pablo Rosario.  She studied vocal technique with Katie Agresta.  

Sue began her multi-faceted career in the field of Latin music as founding member and timbalera of Latin Fever, a 14-piece female salsa band produced by Latin jazz pianist, Larry Harlow. Their breakthrough CD “Larry Harlow Presents Latin Fever”, rose to the top of the Latin charts and garnered a #1 hit for the single “Lo Que Te Gusta Mas”. She went on to perform with various salsa bands and fondly remembers receiving a standing ovation for her timbale solo with Latin vocalist Ismael Quintana and laudable praise from the master himself, Tito Puente, who told a sold out crowd at Madison Square Garden that he would have to retire after hearing her play. It was here, while sharing the bill with such greats as Tito Puente, Ray Baretto and Mongo Santamaria, among others, that she explored her Latin roots.  Tastefully combining complex Afro-Cuban rhythms within a straight-ahead rock and pop format has become a trademark that has kept Sue in continued demand. 

However, it was her pairing with British rocker Joe Jackson on the platinum selling album, “Night & Day” and accompanying world tour that established Sue as an innovator in the field of contemporary music, resulting in laudatory press and sell-out shows around the globe.  As a direct result of her work, Sue was voted one of the top 5 percussionists in the Latin/Brazilian Category of Modern Drummer Magazine’s Readers Poll.

Sue was also a featured player on the Grammy award winning CD, “Symphony No. 1” by Joe Jackson. Sue continued her collaboration with Joe Jackson and legendary engineer/producer Elliot Scheiner recording percussion for “The Duke”, a Duke Ellington tribute CD and performing live on a world tour with Joe Jackson and the Bigger Band featuring Regina Carter.

Sue’s smooth blend of pop/salsa rhythms has since become her trademark. Known for her versatility, inspired percussion arrangements and strong vocal harmonies, Sue has worked with such diverse artists as: Joe Jackson, Simple Minds, Cyndi Lauper, Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias, Clarence Clemons, Southside Johnny, The B-52s, Basia, Barry Manilow, Kenny Loggins, Toni Braxton, Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, They Might Be Giants, Rickie Lee Jones, Mick Jones (Foreigner), Davy Jones (Monkees), Jane Siberry, Vicki Sue Robinson, Teena Marie and renowned singer songwriter Laura Nyro.

Sue has performed in theater and Off-Broadway as a featured percussionist, as well as having recorded percussion for a variety of movie scores and commercials. She has appeared in many music videos and has performed on major network TV shows all over the world including: Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, The Dave Letterman Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Johnny Carson, Late Night With Conan O’Brien, Saturday Night Live, and The American Music Awards.

Sue’s composing credits include co-writing, arranging, producing and performing the song “Breaking Up” for the movie, BAR GIRLS, an Orion Pictures release.  Other collaborations include her song,  “Regresando A La Diosa”, which appears on the compilation CD, IN CONCERT, produced by Local 802/AFM in support of the Musician’s Emergency Relief Fund. Theatrical collaborations include co-writing the music/libretto and creating the sound design for THE ROSE SLIPPERS, a Latin-tinged musical (inspired by the Jose Marti poem “Los Zapaticos de Rosa”) and produced in NYC which garnered a rave review from the NYTimes and won third prize in the Jackie White National Memorial Children’s theater competition.

She has been interviewed in Modern Drummer, Drum! Magazine, Classic (Vintage) Drummer, Modern Percussionist, Musico Pro, InTune Monthly Magazine, Rhythm Magazine (UK) and Slagwerkkrant Magazine (Holland). She has also written feature articles for RockrGrl Magazine, Drummergirl.com, Modern Drummer and Drum! Magazine.

Sue is a member of AFM, SAG-AFTRA, and ASCAP.

Sue Hadjopoulos proudly endorses REMO World Percussion and Drumheads, Grover Pro Percussion and Vater Percussion.

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