Regina Spektor is a Russian-born American singer, songwriter, and pianist with a net worth of $12 million. She is known for her eclectic and experimental musical style, blending elements of anti-folk, indie pop, and alternative rock. She has released seven studio albums, four of which have reached the top 20 on the Billboard 200 chart. She has also contributed songs to various films and TV shows, such as The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, 500 Days of Summer, Orange Is the New Black, and Hamilton.
Early Life and Education
Regina Ilyinichna Spektor was born on February 18, 1980, in Moscow, Soviet Union, to a musical Jewish family. Her father, Ilya Spektor, was a photographer and amateur violinist, and her mother, Bella Spektor, was a music professor and piano teacher. Regina Spektor began playing the piano at six and learned classical music and Russian bards. She also grew up listening to rock and roll bands such as the Beatles, Queen, and the Moody Blues, which her father obtained from Eastern Europe and traded with friends.
In 1989, when Regina Spektor was nine and a half, her family left the Soviet Union during Perestroika, when Soviet citizens were allowed to emigrate. They first traveled to Austria and then Italy, where they stayed as refugees with the assistance of HIAS (the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society). Spektor had to leave her piano behind and did not play for several months until she found a piano in the basement of a synagogue in Italy. In 1990, the family moved to the Bronx, New York, where they settled with the help of HIAS. Spektor attended a Jewish day school and then a yeshiva high school, where she learned English and Hebrew. She later transferred to Fair Lawn High School in New Jersey, graduating in 1998. She then enrolled at the Purchase College in New York, where she studied music and graduated with honors in 2001.
Regina Spektor Musical Career
Regina Spektor began writing songs and performing at open mic nights in New York City in the late 1990s. She became part of the anti-folk scene, a loosely defined movement of musicians who rejected the conventions of traditional folk music and incorporated elements of punk, rock, and pop. She self-released her first three albums, 11:11 in 2001, Songs in 2002, and Soviet Kitsch in 2004, which gained her a cult following in the independent music scene. She also collaborated with artists such as The Strokes, Kings of Leon, and Ben Folds.
In 2004, Regina Spektor signed with Sire Records, a major label that gave her more exposure and resources. She re-released Soviet Kitsch with two bonus tracks and embarked on her first national tour. She also performed at festivals like Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and Glastonbury. 2006, she released her fourth album, Begin to Hope, her commercial breakthrough. The album debuted at number 20 on the Billboard 200 and sold over 500,000 copies in the US, earning a gold certification by the RIAA. It also spawned four singles, including “Fidelity,” “On the Radio,” “Better,” and “Samson,” which received airplay on alternative and adult contemporary radio stations. The album showcased Spektor’s diverse musical influences, ranging from classical to pop to hip-hop, and featured more production and instrumentation than her previous works.
In 2009, Spektor released her fifth album, Far, which debuted at number 3 on the Billboard 200 and sold over 200,000 copies in the US. Four producers, including Jeff Lynne, David Kahne, Mike Elizondo, and Garret Lee, produced the album and helped shape Spektor’s sound and vision. The album also featured more political and social themes, such as religion, war, technology, and personal topics, such as love, death, and dreams. The album spawned five singles, including “Laughing With,” “Eat,” “Blue Lips,” “The Calculation,” and “Folding Chair.”
In 2012, Regina Spektor released her sixth album, What We Saw from the Cheap Seats, which also debuted at number 3 on the Billboard 200 and sold over 100,000 copies in the US. The album was recorded in Los Angeles with producer Mike Elizondo and featured a mix of new and old songs Regina Spektor had written over the years but has yet to record. The album also included a cover of “Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas),” a song by Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel, which Regina Spektor had previously recorded in English on Songs. The album spawned four singles, including “All the Rowboats,” “Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas),” “How,” and “Firewood.”
In 2016, Regina Spektor released her seventh album, Remember Us to Life, which debuted at number 23 on the Billboard 200 and sold over 50,000 copies in the US. The album was recorded in New York with producer Leo Abrahams and featured more orchestral arrangements and electronic elements than her previous works. The album also reflected Spektor’s experience of becoming a mother, as she gave birth to her first child, a son, in 2014. The album spawned three singles, including “Bleeding Heart,” “Small Bill$,” and “Older and Taller.”
In addition to her albums, Regina Spektor has also contributed songs to various films and TV shows, such as The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, 500 Days of Summer, Orange Is the New Black, and Hamilton. She has also performed at various events and venues, such as the White House, the Kennedy Center, the Royal Albert Hall, and the Sydney Opera House. She has also collaborated with artists such as Ben Folds, Sia, Josh Groban, and Hamilton Leithauser.
Personal Life and Relationship
Regina Spektor is married to Jack Dishel, a singer, songwriter, and actor who performs under the stage name Only Son. The couple met in 2005 and married in 2011. They have two children, a son born in 2014 and a daughter born in 2019. They live in New York City.
Regina Spektor is a vegetarian and an animal rights activist. She supports various charities and causes, such as Doctors Without Borders, Amnesty International, and HIAS. She is also a fan of literature, art, and chess. She cites her influences, such as Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Kurt Vonnegut, and Mark Twain. She admires artists like Frida Kahlo, Marc Chagall, and Salvador Dali. She also enjoys playing chess and has participated in several tournaments.
Age, Height, and Body Measurements
Spektor is 43 years old as of 2023. She was born on February 18, 1980. She is 5 feet 3 inches (1.60 m) tall and weighs around 121 lbs (55 kg). She has blue eyes and brunette hair. She has a slim body type and a fair complexion.
Awards and Nominations
Spektor has won several awards and nominations for her music and contributions. Some of them are:
- 2006: New York Music Awards for Best Female Singer/Songwriter
- 2007: Shortlist Music Prize for Begin to Hope
- 2007: Glamour Women of the Year Awards for Solo Artist of the Year
- 2008: Brit Awards for International Female Solo Artist (nominated)
- 2010: Grammy Awards for Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media for “The Call” from The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (nominated)
- 2010: MTV Video Music Awards for Breakthrough Video for “Laughing With” (nominated)
- 2013: Grammy Awards for Best Song Written for Visual Media for “You’ve Got Time” from Orange Is the New Black (nominated)
- 2014: Emmy Awards for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music for “You’ve Got Time” from Orange Is the New Black (nominated)
- 2017: Tony Awards for Best Original Score (Music and Lyrics) Written for the Theatre for “Dear Theodosia” from Hamilton (nominated)
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