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"Regina Spektor (born February 18, 1980) is a Russian-born American singer-songwriter and pianist. Her music is associated with the anti-folk scene centered on New York City's East Village. Spektor was born in Moscow, Russia, Soviet Union to a musical family. Her father, a photographer, was also an amateur violinist, and her mother was a music professor in a Russian conservatory; she now teaches at a public elementary school in Mount Vernon, New York.
Spektor's idiosyncratic songs rely on a mixture of styles and techniques, often starting with a seemingly simple piano riff but ending with moans, nonsense words, warblings, and other strange noises. Spektor states that she has created hundreds of songs, but that she rarely writes any of them down. Unlike the songs of many singer-songwriters, Spektor's are not usually autobiographical, but rather are based on scenarios and characters drawn from her imagination. They range from playfully quirky to bittersweet in character, showing influences from folk, Jewish, Russian, hip hop, and classical music. She also shows influences, especially in her earliest work, from jazz, blues, and hip-hop music, while her more recent work has tended more towards pop and electronic music. Spektor's musical style has drawn many comparisons to fellow singer-pianists Fiona Apple and Tori Amos. However, Spektor has stated that she works hard to ensure that each of her songs has its own musical style, rather than trying to develop a distinctive style for her music as a whole.
In Spektor's early albums, many of her tracks had a very dry vocal production, with very little reverb or delay added artificially. This is extremely unusual in contemporary music, which is known for heavily altering singer's voices. The impression is that very little was done to tracks in the production phase, giving a general raw feel to Spektor's early work. However, Spektor's more recent albums, particularly Begin to Hope, have put more emphasis into song production and have relied more on traditional pop and rock instruments."
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