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Regina Spektor (born 18.2.1980) Regina Spektor is a Soviet-American songwriter, singer and pianist. She is widely associated with New York's anti-folk scene.
Childhood: Regina Spektor was born in Moscow. Her Jewish parents were both musical - her father Ilya is an amateur violinist and her mother, Bella was a music professor and now teaches at a public school in New York.
Regina learned piano as a child, practicing on a Petrof piano that was a present to her mother from her grandfather. Although she was forced to leave the piano behind when the family emigrated, both of her parents felt that it was better to leave behind the discrimination that they faced as a Jewish family in USSR.
Whilst she grew up in New York, Regina Spektor studied classical piano at the Manhattan School of Music, taught by Sonia Vargas, until the age of 17. Outside of the college, Spektor practiced on the piano at her local synagogue.
Career: Whilst on a trip to Israel, Regina Spektor was introduced to the likes of Joni Mitchell and Ani DiFranco and at the age of 16, she started writing songs. In 2001, she graduated with honours from the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College.
When Spektor began performing her songs publicly, she would play at New York venues such as the Sidewalk Café in the East Village, the Living Room and the Knitting Factory.
Having sold a couple of self-made albums at gigs (11:11 in 2001 and Songs in 2002), Regina Spektor signed to Sire Records, who released her third album, Soviet Kitsch, which she had originally self-released in 2003.
Spektor has always made a number of literary allusions in her work, to writers such as Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf and F. Scott Fitzgerald. She has counted artists such as Billie Holiday, Chopin and Tom Waits amongst her influences. She has also covered songs by Madonna, Leonard Cohen and John Lennon as part of her live repertoire.
Regina Spektor's first major tour came in 2003 when she supported The Strokes on their 'Room On Fire' tour. During the tour, she recorded the song 'Modern Girls & Old Fashion Men' with them.
In 2005, Spektor supported Keane when they toured North America. She has also appeared on a number of popular TV shows such as Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
In 2006, Regina Spektor released the album Begin to Hope, followed by Far in 2009. Many of her songs have been used in soundtracks and on TV advertisements, including ITV's Secret Diary of a Call Girl and Vodafone's TV advertising campaign. She also performed for Oscar de la Renta's catwalk show in New York in 2008. Regina also performed 'The Call' in the final sequence of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. In 2009, 'Better' was used in My Sister's Keeper, starring Cameron Diaz - based on a novel Jodi Picoult.
Whilst 2016 has been too full of tragedy and sad loss it has also undoubtedly been a bumper year in terms of album releases.
There is no way to aptly mark the passing of some of the very best artists of any generation but in amongst the untimely deaths has come some inspirational and ground breaking music.
My albums are all ones I have enjoyed immensely and continue to play. Whilst Radiohead, M.I.A, Peter Doherty and many others may have missed the cut it wasn't really a difficult choice this year. It may not be all that eclectic but there are some great albums in there. Nick Cave's Skeleton Tree is not only this years best album but also an album that is rapidly becoming one of my all time favourites, it's just so good.
Continue reading: Andrew Lockwood's Top Ten Albums Of 2016
Following Regina's successful foray into TV, with her much adored song 'You've Got Time', (to accompany the credits of 'Orange Is The New Black') and four years after her last album, 'What We Saw From The Cheap Seats', Spektor is back with her 7th studio album to date. 'Remember Us To Life' is a cornucopia of eclectic, eccentric, bohemian and wonderfully balanced but off-centre songs that are full of imagination and creativity.
There are not an infinite number of releases that could have arisen from Regina's latest, all new, all original work. There are either 11 or 14 tracks, depending on whether you choose to go deluxe or not. To date there have been four single releases; album opener, 'Bleeding Heart', 'Small Bill$', 'Black And White' and latterly 'Older And Taller'. If you'd have given me the rest of the year to choose those tracks (Never mind the order!) I'd have been as good as I am with the connecting wall on Only Connect; either I'd have had an extremely lucky guess or, as is usually the case, been left wanting and wondering. Sometimes life is baffling.
It's odd, or mildly interesting at least, that the four first tracks lifted off the album to date are all less Regina than you may be used to.(Please excuse the footballing/soccer analogy that follows...) It's as if there's a new manager on the scene and instead of playing to established strengths there's been a conscious effort to play to a new system. They know what quality they've got on the bench so why not try playing a 5-3-2 formation instead of the more obvious 4-4-2. As Regina herself sings, "What a strange, strange world we live in..." I would love to have been a fly on the wall during the meeting of A&R people, production team, label execs and Regina... if such a meeting ever happened, to see where the decision came from to emphasise other facets to Regina's canon of work. This is a great album, however, these choices, the sequencing and above all, knowing the remaining tracks available, it leaves me slightly perplexed as to how this came to be.(My slightly laboured point here is that these first four releases are not at all bad but neither are they the best the album has to offer. by a long shot).
Continue reading: Regina Spektor - Remember Us To Life Album Review
The band will support the EP on tour this February.
Texan two-piece The Wind and The Wave re-introduce some of the nation's favorite pop songs with their upcoming EP release, 'Covers One'. The record is set for release in February and will be followed up by a US tour.
The Wind And The Wave release 'Covers One' EP in February 2015
The EP features epic renditions of hits of both old and new. There's Sia's explosive 2014 showstopper 'Chandelier', R. Kelly's 2003 number one 'Ignition', Metric's 2009 single 'Gold Guns Girls', Stevie Nicks' third solo single from 1982 'Edge of Seventeen' and Regina Spektor's 2013 release 'You've Got Time'. 'Covers One' will also feature versions of Cyndi Lauper's 'Time After Time' and Simple Minds' 'Don't You (Forget About Me)' which were specially recorded for the 'Grey's Anatomy' soundtrack.
Lightning strikes at Huntingdon's Secret Garden Party music and arts festival damaging an art boat.
Some Secret Garden Party artwork was damaged by Tuesday's storm
The Secret Garden Party festival has been struck by a bolt of lightning ahead of its opening on July 25th 2013.
The Cambridgeshire independent festival, which has played host to a range of musicians and artists since it started in 2004, was on the end of a particularly nasty storm last night (July 23rd 2013), and suffered a dramatic lightning strike on a large art installation that had been put up prior to the weekend event. It also damaged the Lake Stage in the middle of the lake at the Mill Hill Field, Grange Farm venue in Abbots Ripton. Event organiser Fred Fellowed informed the press, 'It was a brutal storm last night; a good watering for the garden but our lake art installation took a direct hit around 2am.' Though, he was able to look on the amusing side of their bad luck: 'I wonder if we are inviting trouble by having the theme 'Superstition' this year?'
Regina Spektor could be described as this generation's Fiona Apple; a female artist producing emotive, slightly off-beat music that doesn't adhere to the commercial norm. It is these elements of eccentricity and fearlessness that have garnered her a devoted fan base which has followed her career up to this record, What We Saw From The Cheap Seats, her sixth studio album release.
One of the great things about Regina Spektor's vocals is the fact that she can switch between varying pitches and tones so effortlessly, flitting through ranges like a bird singing in the trees. This is reflected in opening track 'Small Town Moon', providing a quintessential taste of the Spektor sound for anyone new to her music and welcoming back in with kooky arms those already more familiar. Regina's trusty piano accompaniments feature from the first key, initially lulling us into steady melodies before bursting into colourful, bouncing choruses with handclap beats and catchy stop-start rhythms.
Beneath this quirky exterior, however, lies a fragile woman who is just as vulnerable as the rest of us. 'Firewood' is a mesmerizingly beautiful song that is stripped of any of her recognisable instrumental or idiosyncrasies. A soft, slow harmony backs emotive lyrics such as, 'But a heart can't be helped/ And it gathers regret' and 'Everyone knows you're going to love/ Though there's still no cure for crying'. Continuing this sense of fragility is 'How'; a heart-breaking ballad in which Spektor sings of the pain of a break up. Listening to these two tracks, you do momentarily wonder if Regina is veering away from the whimsical touches that have made her so recognisable, but, if anything, they merely demonstrate that the songstress is far from being a one-trick pony.
Continue reading: Regina Spektor - What We Saw From The Cheap Seats Album Review
Back in the day a live album was usually some kind of contractual filler, an exercise in thanks-very-much--now-here's-the-hits. To complement their throwaway nature, normally the sound quality varied between post-production airbrush or third rate bootleg, leaving the listener none the wiser either way as to how the thing actually went.
Continue reading: Regina Spektor Live In London Review
The closing date of Regina Spektor's European tour at the Cambridge Corn Exchange last Thursday was an event overshadowed by sad circumstances; her touring cellist Daniel Cho drowned in Lake Geneva, Switzerland on July 6, a day before the band's scheduled appearance at the Montreux Festival. After insisting that she still perform the festival set as a dedication to Cho, Spektor has gone on to display consummate professionalism in the face of such tragedy, continuing to fulfil all her remaining tour commitments. Describing Daniel as 'our cellist and our friend and an amazing, talented musician and human being', she spoke about the decision to continue performing at the close of her set last week: 'It's really great that you're here and that you can think about him. That's why we've been playing these shows in his memory, so that we can tell people about our amazing friend who's not here anymore'.
Continue reading: Regina Spektor, The Corn Exchange, Cambridge 22/07/2010 Live Review
Date of birth
18th February, 1980
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