Home Tech Regina – Regina Spektor: ‘I feel almost hypnotized by the world.’ Photo: Sherwin Lainez
With the release of her eighth album, the Russian-born singer-songwriter talks about why making music and storytelling is the perfect vehicle for emotional truth between children and Covid.
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Regina tries to get out of the way when she’s talking to Spector because he’s talking so cheerfully. I ask a simple question about songwriting and, over the next few minutes, launch into a grand conversational aria of anecdotes, aphorisms, metaphors, theories, and jokes, and I’m unapologetic afterward. answer In fact, he answered not only that, but half a dozen questions that we haven’t yet answered. He has an amazing talent.
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“I feel like I’m almost hypnotized by the world.” “I’ve got an immigrant chick: let’s get things done. And then there’s another part. “
That spirit is also present in his music. Spector is drawn to the big things of life, death, love, time, which most songwriters approach in a very similar way. He’s written at least half a dozen songs that I can’t listen to without crying, which puts me in good company. His ardent fans include Peter Gabriel, Neil Gaiman,
Spector is speaking to me from a friend’s house in New York because she’s quieter than she is: she has two young children with the musician Jack Diesel. For him, 2019 marked his engagement with the city he first entered as a nine-year-old refugee from the Soviet Union in 1989. In addition to living on Broadway, Mayor Bill de Blasio was honored (June 11) with a star on Regina Spektor Day and the Bronx Walk of Fame. “I feel like I have to wear an ‘I New York’ T-shirt all the time,” she said.
, his eighth studio album and first since 2016’s Church of the Faith in the States. It’s probably his best album and his greatest with a lovely orchestral sound to match his themes. The nine-minute space extravaganza even features a tap dancer. So it’s strange to hear that he recorded it on his own, but for producer John Congleton and engineer Ariel Shafir; This group was actually in Macedonia. “That’s the only shot I’ve ever had.” “I’m one of the most reliable people I’ve ever met, so I didn’t even set foot in the control room. If the piano tuner came in, I’d be gone for three hours.” He took a deep breath. “When arrested
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I appreciate art, but I will always choose to talk to my kids instead of running away to create art
Two new numbers, “Loveology” and “Raindrops,” represent an extraordinary increase in the number of songs available on each album nearly 20 years ago. She and her husband talked a lot about that time: “We decided that my whole life was about me. I had no responsibility. I was reading a book; I would write music. I would talk; I would write music. I looked at the two men sitting on the bench; I would write music. I was like a worm. Songs are the product of this world. “I leave a mark behind them,” he said.
Now that she has a family, she has “crazy dreams” about reading, playing the piano, and hiking. “I always felt that when I was a little kid,” she said. “I feel the weight of it: this is it. What a gift! What a responsibility! There are things like death, myths, the greatness of humanity, things that exist. I appreciate art, but I will always choose to talk to my kids instead of running away to create art. “Maybe that’s why I earn less than him.”
Spector’s father, Ilya, died in April to play a major comeback show at Carnegie Hall. He would participate in it as he had participated in many others. He recalls that his parents paid for 1,000 copies of his 2001 debut album to be printed.
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He packed the boxes in his small Bronx apartment. He remembers inviting his friends to his first meeting at the SideWalk Cafe in the East Village. “I think they took me back because these nice Russian Jewish people ordered vodka and tonics,” he said. “My parents came to all the performances. I was the only person at the SUNY [State University of New York] Purchase Conservatory who was happy to have a musician parent. “Recently, he put together a box set for his 20th anniversary.
And Ilya gave him a cache of video recordings he had made of their first show. “There were about 30 songs that I only remembered writing when I heard them.” The bonus discs were called Poppa’s Bootlegs.
In retrospect, Spector’s breakthrough is unlikely: a classically trained pianist embraced by some of the most famous rock dudes of his generation. In 2003, he met Strokes producer Gordon Raphael, recorded some tracks and played in the band. Within months, he had a record deal and toured with the Strokes and King of Leon. “People say to me, ‘My daughter plays the piano, can you give me advice?’ Like Me: Randomly Meet Gordon Raphael! Everyone in New York loves working with this band because you live in the Bronx and you don’t know anything about it. Then this magical thing happens. “
Still from the 2018 music documentary Echo in the Canyon with, from left, Spector, Bob Dylan, Beck and Chan Marshall (aka Cat Power). Photo: Everett Collection Inc / Alamy
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The audience was initially frosty to the unknown singer-songwriter, but the bands were beautiful. “I thought I was destined to be an outsider, but if you look around you’ll see that it’s all made up of outsiders. The groups, the scenes, these things are then mythologized and organized.”
Spector doesn’t want to explain what his songs mean, other than to say that he had no expectations at all. Mime shakes and rolls the dice in a bowl, not knowing how they will land. “It’s hard for me to grow up in press days. People say, ‘What were you thinking when you did that?’ “I didn’t think so! I didn’t know! That’s why so many people want to know if you have a plan,” he said.
On the day Russia attacked Ukraine, Spector posted a sad statement on Facebook. The two countries have parents; After the Chernobyl disaster, Kiev’s relatives slept with their family in their small apartment in Moscow. “One thing that happens a lot with Jews is that we come from all over the place.” “The idea of nationalism is not there, because whatever nation you belong to, you always support it – now you’re a supporter, now you’re not; now you live, now you die. He said there was a “clearly crazy guilty party” but that it would be wrong to assume that average Russians supported the invasion. “Not because I protested the war in Iraq, but he was sentenced to 15 years in prison… I don’t know. Is he the kind of person who can throw himself in a car to try to stop it?”
The attack, like his father’s death, happened after the album ended, but you can hear the corresponding sentiments in the songs (“Stay Alone, Stay Alone, Stay Alone”; “Bombs and Shelters Go Together”). such as: “No one laughs at God in the hospital / No one laughs at God in war.” He writes stories, not daily posts, and they are updated regularly.
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“I was a little sad when I realized that there was a big gap in our culture between fiction writers and nonfiction writers,” she said. “For me, artwork is a real vehicle for feelings and insights about life. Because this place is very strange and mysterious and most of the time we don’t know what is going on. Every once in a while, we look up and then realize that the crab is the reverse image of the crab in a tiny mirror a million miles away. It’s hard to be here because you look at cruelty; you are watching the birth of the next 100 year war. If you want, your whole life can be a slow horror. But at the same time
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