Artist Spotlight: Regina Spektor

There are so many reasons to root for Regina Spektor. Not only does her music have a unique, refreshing and whimsical sound that will lighten your heart, but the girl has worked tirelessly to get to where she is today.

With the release of her fifth album, Begin To Hope, things are finally starting to take off in the mainstream. Her song On the Radio was featured on Grey’s Anatomy this past season, and despite the decline in quality of the show itself, its soundtrack still manages to make stars out of relative unknowns. And the mainstream is right about where Regina deserves to be—except that we’ll miss her intimate shows at small venues.

Moving to the Bronx from Russia at the age of 9, Spektor had to improvise when she got to the States. The family left their piano behind in Moscow, and Regina was forced to practice on anything she could find upon her arrival here—window sills, and benches included. She ended up honing her craft, and developing her songwriting skills on a piano in the basement of her synagogue.

A few short years later, when trying to get her first gig at an open audition at a New York club, she decided that waiting around was not for her. She left the line, called the venue, and told them she was already booked there. Somehow she managed to convince them that the lack of her name on the roster was their error and managed to book her first gig.

She’s played tirelessly over the last few years—taking every gig that came her way—and slowly but surely developed a broad fan base.

Spektor has been compared to Tori Amos, and Fiona Apple by critics, but I’m pretty sure it’s just because she plays the piano as well. I love both Tori (her new album—the best she’s put out in awhile), and Fiona Apple, but it doesn’t sound anything like Spektor to me. It’s hard to classify her music—there are so many different sounds, and influences. You can hear her classical training, but you also hear hints of pop, hip-hop… just about everything in there.

Begin to Hope is a great mix—poppy, upbeat songs like Fidelity, Better, and On the Radio are great to wake up to, and impossible to not sing along with. Other tracks like Apres Moi are soaring, and dramatic. And Samson is one of my new favorite love songs—seriously, it makes my heart hurt. Her lyrics are poetic, and maybe slightly confusing, but beautiful all the same.

Spektor has played Coachella this year, and is also appearing at Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. I think it’s only a matter of time before she’s a household name.

Discography:

2001 – 11:11 (Regina Spektor)

2002 – Songs (Regina Spektor)

2003/2004 – Soviet Kitsch (Regina Spektor/Shoplifter/Sire)

2005 – Mary Ann Meets the Gravediggers and Other Short Stories (Transgressive)

2006 – Begin to Hope (Sire)

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