Regina Spektor Biography

Songwriter, Pianist, Singer (1980–)
Talented and quirky singer-songwriter Regina Spektor is known for such songs as "Fidelity" and the 'Orange Is the New Black' theme song "You've Got Time."


Born in Russia, pianist and singer Regina Spektor released her first album, 11:11, in 2001. Her career really started to take off with her fourth record, 2006's Begin to Hope, which featured the hit "Fidelity." Spektor has continued to enjoy critical and commercial success with such songs as 2013's "You've Got Time," which is the theme for the hit series Orange Is the New Black. Spektor earned a Grammy nod for the track.

Early Years

Born on February 18, 1980, musical talent Regina Spektor grew up in Moscow, Russia. She started studying classical piano when she was around 7 years old. Spektor left Russia with her family because of religious persecution over their Jewish faith. She later explained to Rolling Stone that she uses different languages in her music because of her immigration journey. "We went first into Austria–and that's why my last name is spelled with a k, the German way–and then Italy and then America, where I had to learn both English and Hebrew."

Spektor settled in New York City's Bronx borough in 1989. She had to leave her beloved piano back in Russia and initially practiced her music by tapping on her windowsills. Before long, Spektor found a music teacher willing to give her free lessons. She branched out into songwriting when she was sixteen. As a student of State University of New York at Purchase, Spektor discovered jazz. Her first self-produced album, 11:11, shows a strong jazz influence.

Career Breakthrough

Spektor eventually attracted the attention of producer Gordon Raphael, who worked with the Strokes. He introduced her to the band, and she went on tour with them in 2003. "I guess it sounds glamorous," Spektor told SPIN magazine, "but it was so spontaneous. I went on tour with no label, no management, nothing." She soon landed a contract with Sire Records. Raphael had worked with her on her songs that were featured in her major label debut album Soviet Kitsch (2004). Such tracks as "Us" and "Chemo Limo" showed her talent for writing original, offbeat songs.

In 2006, Spektor had her first hit record with Begin to Hope. The album sold more than 500,000 copies, driven in part by the success of the song "Fidelity." "Fidelity" became a favorite for TV soundtracks and was used on such shows as Grey's Anatomy. She followed up this record with 2009's Far. On this album, Spektor worked with the likes of David Kahne, Garret "Jacknife" Lee, Mike Elizondo and Jeff Lynne.

Recent Projects

In 2012, Spektor released What We Saw From the Cheap Seats. The album featured the up-tempo single, "Don't Leave Me (Ne me quitte pas)." She also toured with Tom Petty around this time. The following year, Spektor created the theme song for the hit Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. "You've Got Time" was a hit with viewers and critics alike. Spektor earned her first Grammy Award nomination for the song in 2013. (This wasn’t Spektor’s first collaboration with Jenji Kohan, Orange Is the New Black’s creator. She also contributed a cover of “Little Boxes” for the series Weeds.) The following year, Spektor contributed to the soundtrack for the HBO historical crime series Boardwalk Empire. She sang "Love Me or Leave Me" for the show. In 2016, Spektor released Remember Us to Life, her seventh album.

Personal Life

Spektor is married to Jack Dishel. Dishel, a fellow musician, singer and songwriter, performs as Only Son. He was also a guitarist with the Moldy Peaches. The couple welcomed their first child together, a son, in 2014.

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