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Songwriter and performer Regina Spektor, an original on the American music scene, was born in Moscow on this date in 1980. Her parents, both musicians, brought her to the U.S. in 1989, and she was educated in Jewish day school and yeshiva; she is fluent in Russian, Hebrew, and English. Classically trained on piano, she became interested in songwriting while visiting Israel as a teenager, when the other kids on her trip were smitten by the songs she made up. In her early twenties she became part of the East Village “anti-folk” scene in New York, and released two self-published CDs before signing a record contract in 2003. Spektor has an unusually rhythmic singing style that has now inspired a lot of imitators, and her lyrics are observational, occasionally introspective, always interesting. She has given benefit concerts for Doctors Without Borders, HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), Amnesty International, and human rights in Tibet. Spektor married in 2011 and gave birth to a son in 2014. To see the official video of her best-known song, “Fidelity,” look below. To see her live at the Lollapalooza Festival, look below that. And to see her covering John Lennon’s “Real Love,” look further down to the bottom.
“I hear in my mind all of these voices/I hear in my mind all of these words/I hear in my mind all of this music/and it breaks my heart” —Regina Spektor