Music Mondays: Regina Spektor

Regina Spektor grew up in her native Russia dreaming of someday becoming a composer of classical music. The talented pianist would go on to produce decidedly contemporary songs in the U.S., though. She's transformed herself into a successful artist, but still remains relatively under-the-radar when it comes to the mass media. Perhaps it's thanks to conceptualized tracks like "How," off Regina's What We Saw From The Cheap Seats album, that have kept her fans a more selective group. The single's video is just as illustrated, featuring the singer/songwriter performing on a piano while interacting with a variety of animation.

The piano has always been a vital part of Regina's life. As a child, she practiced on the beige Petrof version her grandfather had given her mother many years before. Although she loved classical compositions, she also enjoyed listening to the bootleg tapes her father had of the Beatles and Queen. Her family lived in Russia until she was nine when they left with help from the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society amidst a wave of anti-Semitism. The family eventually found their way to the Bronx where Regina temporarily postponed her music lessons because there was no money for a new piano. As luck or even fate would have it, her father befriended a violinist whose wife played piano and Regina began receiving free lessons. Despite her clear musicality, playing the piano had its impasses for the young artist, especially since her hands weren't seeming to grow as fast as the rest of her and sight-reading was always a bit of a struggle. Regina started to get discouraged, but garnered praise during a trip to Israel for crafting songs on hikes. When she arrived back stateside, she began composing her own material and while playing some of those new songs for a visiting former hiking companion and her mother at a local bar, she caught the ear of the maitre d� who introduced the young performer to a record producer. Regina earned her degree from the SUNY Purchase Music Conservatory and started selling her self-produced albums, 11:11 in 2001 and Songs in 2002, at her local performances. Her third offering, Soviet Kitsch, was also self-released, but got picked up by Sire Records. Her next endeavor, Begin to Hope, was distributed by the label in 2006, with the critically-acclaimed Far following in 2009. Regina's been busy touring to support What We Saw From The Cheap Seats and composing the score for the Broadway musical, Beauty. It's not only Regina's beautiful lyrics and unique arrangements that impress us; it's also her ability to persevere while never compromising when it comes to her music.

Check out Regina's spellbinding video for "How" below before heading over to I AM THAT GIRL YouTube channel. While you're there, don't forget to tune into our Music Mondays playlist, which is updated every week.

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