|Regina Spektor Quick Info|
|Height||5 ft 3½ in|
|Date of Birth||February 18, 1980|
Regina Spektor is a Russian singer, songwriter, record producer, philanthropist, and pianist who is well-known for her diverse discography which has brought her much critical acclaim as well as several awards and nominations. Her family moved from the Soviet Union and got settled in the United States as emigrants when Regina was around 9 and a half years old. Since her early years, Regina Spektor was inclined towards learning music and was disappointed when she could not bring her piano with her to her new home in the United States. However, despite the rough times, she continued her practice and her parents remained supportive throughout her journey. Regina Spektor has released various albums and EPs which include Songs, What We Saw from the Cheap Seats, Far, Remember Us to Life, Soviet Kitsch, Live at Bull Moose, and Laughing With. Her first live album, Live in London, was recorded at the Hammersmith Apollo, in London, during her Far Tour on December 4, 2009, and then released worldwide on November 22, 2010. Regina Spektor has also accumulated a huge social media fan base with her musical finesse and enjoys more than 180k followers on Twitter, more than 1.8 million followers on Facebook, more than 180k followers on Instagram, and more than 350k subscribers on her YouTube channel.
Regina Ilyinichna Spektor
Moscow, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Soviet Union
New York City, New York, United States
Regina Spektor graduated from the Salanter Akiba Riverdale Academy which is a Jewish day middle school located in the Riverdale section of the New York City borough of the Bronx. Until the age of 17, she also took classical piano lessons with Sonia Vargas, a professor at the Manhattan School of Music. It was Regina Spektor’s father who met Vargas through her husband, a violinist named Samuel Marder.
Regina Spektor also studied at The Frisch School which is a coeducational yeshiva high school located in Paramus, New Jersey, United States. Later, she went to Fair Lawn High School, a 4-year comprehensive public high school located in Fair Lawn, Bergen County, New Jersey. During her teenage years, she also visited Israel with the Nesiya Institute. That was the time when she realized her skills as a songwriter after her songs caught the attention of other children.
In 2001, Regina Spektor graduated from the State University of New York at Purchase after completing the 4-year studio composition program of the Conservatory of Music. Moreover, she also studied for a term in Tottenham, North London, England, United Kingdom.
Singer, Songwriter, Record Producer, Philanthropist, Pianist
- Father – Ilya Spektor (Photographer and Amateur Violinist)
- Mother – Bella Spektor (Music Professor in a Soviet College of Music, Teacher at a Public Elementary School in Mount Vernon, New York)
- Siblings – Boruch (also known as Bear) (Brother)
Regina Spektor is represented by Artist Group International, Music Artist Management Company, New York City, New York, United States.
Antie-Folk, Indie Pop
Vocals, Piano, Guitar
Sire Records, Warner Bros. Records Inc.
5 ft 3½ in or 161 cm
62 kg or 136.5 lbs
Boyfriend / Spouse
Regina Spektor has dated –
- Julian Casablancas – It was speculated that Regina Spektor had a fling with American singer and songwriter, Julian Casablancas, in the past. Julian has also served as the lead singer for the New York City-based rock band, The Strokes. Regina Spektor has also performed the duet, Modern Girls & Old Fashioned Men, with the band.
- Jack Dishel – Regina Spektor got married to the musician, actor, writer, director, comedian, and producer, Jack Dishel, on December 18, 2011. They had been together for quite a while before getting married and had dated for around 6 years. The couple had also been engaged for a period of around 16 months before finally getting hitched. He was the lead guitarist of the indie group, The Moldy Peaches. Regina and Jack Dishel have also worked together on some projects which include the song, Call Them Brothers. On January 23, 2014, Regina Spektor announced via Facebook that she was pregnant with Dishel’s child. Soon after in March 2014, the duo welcomed their first child, a son.
Race / Ethnicity
Regina Spektor is of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.
- Curly Locks
- Usually wears red lipstick
- Distinctive voice
- Wide smile
- Quirky but intimate lyrics
Regina Spektor’s songs have been used in commercials for a variety of brands such as United Kingdom’s British Sky Broadcasting, KPN (a Dutch telecom company), J.C. Penney, Yahoo!Xtra, and Vodafone.
Regina Spektor grew up in a Russian Jewish household.
Best Known For
- Self-releasing her first 3 records and gaining the much-deserved popularity in New York City’s independent music scenes. She was particularly famous in the anti-folk scene centered on New York City’s East Village.
- The immense popularity of her 4th album, titled Begin to Hope, which peaked at number #1 in the U.S. Billboard Top Heatseekers list (2006), at number #20 in the U.S. Billboard 200 list (2017), and at number #10 in the New Zealand RIANZ Albums Chart (2017). The album was recognized as the 21st-best album of 2006 by Rolling Stone and was labeled a “pacesetter” by Billboard. It was also certified ‘Gold’ by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) Limited, Recorded Music NZ (RMNZ), and Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). The most popular single from the album was Fidelity.
- Her 5th studio album which was released via Sire Records in June 2009 was titled Far. It consisted of 13 songs and received positive reviews and peaked at number #3 in the Billboard 200 list, at number #5 in the Billboard Top Digital Albums list, at number #3 in the Billboard Top Internet Albums list, at number #10 in the Australian ARIA Album Chart, and at number #16 in the Canadian Albums Chart. It was also certified ‘Gold’ by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).
- The consecutive popularity of her 6th studio album which was titled What We Saw from the Cheap Seats and was released in May 2012 through Sire Records. The album witnessed positive reception and as of September 2016, it had sold 174,000 copies in the United States. Moreover, it also peaked at number #1 in the U.S. Top Alternative Albums (Billboard) list, at number #2 in the U.S. Top Rock Albums (Billboard) list, at number #5 in the U.S. Top Tastemaker Albums (Billboard) list, at number #9 in the Australian Albums (ARIA) list, and at number #12 in the Canadian Albums (Billboard) list. It’s single, All the Rowboats, was charted at number #91 in Australia and got ranked at number #38 in the U.S. Rock Digital Songs chart.
In July 2001, Regina Spektor self-released her debut album, 11:11, which consisted of a total of 12 songs such as Love Affair, Rejazz, Back of a Truck, Marry Ann, Wasteside, Pavlov’s Daughter, I Want to Sing, and Sunshine.
She released her first live album, Live in London, on November 22, 2010, through Sire Records. The album also received the New York Music Award in the “Best Live Recording” category in 2011.
Regina Spektor made her first feature film appearance as the Girl who lost the ring in the comedy movie, Winning Girls Through Psychic Mind Control, in 2002. The film was premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival on June 9, 2002, and starred the likes of Bronson Pinchot, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, and Amy Carlson.
She made her first theatrical film appearance as a Concerned Townsperson in the adventure comedy-drama film, Adam Green’s Aladdin, in 2016. The cast of the film included Jon Wiley, Michael Cummings, Yasmin Green, Toby Goodshank, and Nicole LaLiberte.
First TV Show
Regina Spektor made her first TV show appearance as herself in an episode of the late-night comedy music talk show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, in March 2005.
Regina Spektor Favorite Things
- Romantic Movies – Manhattan (1979), Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (1963), Amarcord (1973), Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears (1979), and When Harry Met Sally (1989)
- One Of Her Favorite Books – Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger
Regina Spektor Facts
- Regina Spektor grew up in Moscow, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Soviet Union.
- Her brother, Boruch, has worked as a featured artist in track 7, “* * *”, or “Whisper”, of her 2004 album Soviet Kitsch.
- Her grandfather had given her mother a Petrof upright which was later used by Regina to learn how to play the piano. She also started training in classical music at the age of 6.
- Growing up, she used to listen to the melodious classical creations as well as used to enjoy the work of the famous Russian bards such as Vladimir Vysotsky and Bulat Okudzhava.
- It was her father who introduced Regina to rock and roll bands such as the Beatles, Queen, and the Moody Blues.
- During the period of Perestroika, Regina Spektor’s family left the Soviet Union in 1989. She was only 9 and a half years old at that time. Unfortunately, she could not bring her piano with her and had to leave it behind.
- She was so concerned about her piano studies that it even made her parents rethink their decision to leave the Soviet Union. However, they finally decided to emigrate because of the racial, ethnic, and political discrimination that Jews faced.
- The family first moved to Austria, followed by their stay in Italy, before they finally got admitted to the United States as refugees with the assistance of HIAS (the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society).
- As Regina was unable to bring her piano along with her while moving out from the Soviet Union, she used to practice on tabletops and other hard surfaces until she found a piano on which to play in the basement of her synagogue.
- Her initial musical inclinations were centered basically on classical music but later she developed a liking for hip hop, rock, and punk as well.
- Regina Spektor first realized that she wanted to pursue a career in songwriting while she visited Israel with the Nesiya Institute in her teenage years. During the trip, she made songs while hiking which soon caught the attention of her mates.
- She was around 16 years old when she wrote her very first a cappella songs and around the age of 18, she created her first songs for voice and piano.
- Around the time when she studied at Purchase College, Regina Skeptor also worked at a butterfly farm in Luck, Polk County, Wisconsin for a short period of time.
- Regina Spektor released her 7th studio album, Remember Us to Life, in September 2016 via Warner Bros. and Sire Records which consisted of a total of 11 songs which included the songs Bleeding Heart, Older and Taller, The Trapper and the Furrier, Sellers of Flowers, Tornadoland, and The Visit. The album was ranked at number #23 in the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and at number #20 in the Australian Albums (ARIA) chart. It was also certified as triple ‘Platinum’ by Russia (NFPF).
- She has stated that she is very connected to her Russian roots and has paid tribute to her heritage in her song Après Moi quoting the poem February by the Russian poet Boris Pasternak.
- Regina Spektor released a cover of John Lennon‘s song Real Love in 2007 for the compilation album, Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur, to benefit the campaign by Amnesty International to alleviate the crisis in Darfur.
- In 2008, she participated in Songs for Tibet: The Art of Peace. The album is an initiative to support Tibet, the promotion of peace, basic fundamental human rights, including freedom of speech and religion, and the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. Moreover, to show her support for Tibet, she also played for Tibet House’s annual concert at Carnegie Hall on February 26, 2010.
- She gave a concert at the Fillmore at Irving Plaza in New York City, New York to raise funds for the work of Médecins Sans Frontières in Haiti in March 2010.
- In April 2010, Regina Spektor covered Radiohead‘s song No Surprises and all the proceeds from the song went to Médecins Sans Frontières to help earthquake victims in Haiti and Chile.
- In order to raise money for Planned Parenthood New York City, she performed at the 3rd annual Roe on the Rocks gig at the Bowery Ballroom located in Manhattan on January 22, 2009.
- Regina Spektor has also taken part in a number of memorial and benefit concerts for the family of Dan Cho, who was her cellist who died while touring with her in 2010.
- In 2011, she won the New York Music Award in the “Best Female Rock Vocalist” category.
- She also did a benefit concert for HIAS (a beneficiary agency of UJA-Federation of New York) at Rose Hall, New York City in February 2012.
- Apart from the studio albums, Regina Spektor has also released a number of EPs, such as Live at Bull Moose, Live in California 2006 EP, Laughing With, and iTunes Live from Soho, and singles, which include Carbon Monoxide, On the Radio, Us, Fidelity, Laughing With, Eet, My Dear Acquaintance (A Happy New Year), Samson, All the Rowboats, No Surprises, Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas), You’ve Got Time, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and Bleeding Heart.
- She used to practice vegetarianism before she started touring with the American rock band, The Strokes, who used to frequently dine on steak.
- She has also stated that instead of trying to create a distinctive style of her own, what she majorly focuses on is that each of her songs has its own musical style.
- In 2012, Regina Spektor became a christened official “Steinway Artist” and plays Steinway & Sons pianos.
- She performed at the White House for Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, along with hundreds of other guests, in honor of Jewish Heritage Month in May 2010. Her performance included the songs Us and The Sword & the Pen.
- She has also written and recorded the theme song, You’ve Got Time, for the Netflix Original comedy-drama series, Orange Is the New Black. The song was also nominated at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards in the “Best Song Written for Visual Media” category and won the BMI Streaming Media Award in 2015.
- Regina Spektor is fluent in Russian and can also read Hebrew.
- Her songs are influenced by folk, punk, rock, Jewish, Russian, hip hop, jazz, and classical music.
- She also finds inspiration in the works of the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Nirvana, Madonna, Eminem, Kate Bush, Rufus Wainwright, David Bowie, the Ramones, Patti Smith, Billie Holiday, Radiohead, Tom Waits, and Frédéric Chopin.
- While performing live, Regina Spektor has mostly played on a seafoam Epiphone Wildkat archtop hollow-body electric guitar.
- She holds American citizenship.
- Visit her official website @ reginaspektor.com.
- Follow Regina Spektor on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, MySpace, SoundCloud, iTunes, and YouTube.
Featured Image by Joella Marano / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0