- 11:57 AM, Jun 24
Regina Spektor was born in Moscow on February 18, 1980 before the Soviet Union collapsed. Her mother taught music, while her father was a violist and photographer. Regina began learning to play piano at the age of 6, practicing her skill using a Petrof piano given by her grandfather to her mother. When the Soviet Union ruler Mikhail Gorbachev began his policy of perestroika in 1989, she and her parents immigrated to Bronx, New York City, and started a new life there. "We had to sell the piano because we weren't allowed to bring anything foreign-made out of Russia," she recalled. "It was considered Soviet property. I was so sad."
Lucky for Regina, she got Manhattan School of Music professor, Sonia Vargas, as her teacher. "She ended up being my teacher until I was 17. The Japanese have a proverb: whenever the student is ready, the teacher appears. In a lot of ways, that's how my life has been, there's been this kind of harmony with things - I wrote a few songs, then someone heard me and offered me a show; I decided I was ready to tour and then I went on tour with the Strokes. It makes you live your whole life differently. You can't just sit around, getting angry because you think you're ready. If you were really ready, things would be happening," she said.
On what kind of songs she usually wrote, Regina said, "I try to write songs the way a short story writer writes stories. I always thought, 'Why can't I write a song from the point of view of a man or a criminal or an old woman?' Obviously some of it comes from personal things, but it's so much more fun when a concept or idea pops into my head and then I pull on it and out comes this thing that I never expected."
Regina completed her studies at the Conservatory of Music of Purchase College in 2001. Becoming a favorite among the students at the Purchase musical community, Regina had a chance to team up with jazz bassist Chris Kuffner to record her first collection, "11:11", which was released as an indie record. The next year, she followed it up with another indie studio project called "Songs".
All her hard work was finally paid off as her talent was spotted by executives in Sire Records. Regina was