The Wig's Q & A with New York based singer-songwriter Regina Spektor
March 21, 2004
TW: It seems that you have been dedicated to music from an early age.  Is this how you feel?
Yes, from the earliest childhood memories, I loved and believed in music.  Before I knew that people pray to God, I used to say little prayers to music.  I was also very lucky to be born into a musical family, and get to study from the age of six.

Why choose music?
It was all around me, and I wanted to play piano real bad.

:  What inspired you to begin?
RS:  My parents both thought seriously about music education.  My dad had played violin, and my mom, piano - she was also a Music Conservatory professor in Moscow.  It was not a matter of "whether" I would study music, but rather "which instrument" I would study...

TW:  Were there certain artstis or music genres that inspired you early on?
RS:  The earliest inspiration came from classical music, The Beatles, and the Russian underground singer songerwriter movement, called "The Bard Singers"

TW:  At what point did you know that music was "it," what you were supposed to do?
RS:  Always... but I didn't know I wanted to write songs, specifically, until I was 17 or so.

TW: What were some of your earliest shows like?
RS:  I was lucky, so that even at my earliest shows I had very receptive cool audiences, who were excited about what I was doing.  I always got very nervous prior to shows, but not while I was playing.

TW:  Do you still get nervous when you take the stage?
RS:  Yes, but it morphs into new ways of getting nervous.  Sometimes I worry about letting down the audience.  There are many people who come to different shows, and my shows are never the same.  So I always hope they will follow me wherever I go, and not be dissappointed if I don't play the songs they came to hear.  Also, the stuff I write is sometimes complicated and hard to play, so I worry about doing justice to the songs, playing them how I want and how I hear them in my head.

TW: Who would you love to tour with?
RS:  There are so many people I look up to, but the truth is, after touring with The Strokes in the USA, and Kings of Leon in Europe, I would really like to try touring by myself, and see what that's like.  Definitely if Mr. Bob Dylan ever even wanted to take me on tour as a water bottle girl, I'd jump at the opportunity.

TW: Are there certain people that you have worked with that you have really enjoyed?  Learned something from? 
RS:  Yes, there are so many NY people I've learned from.  Local musicians, producers, bands... Too many to mention.  A NYC friend, Andy Green, is a real cool musician, producer.  I learned a lot about protools production with him.  I learned from Gordon and Alan, and I learned a lot from my good friend Joe Mendelson - who recorded my second record "Songs."

TW: Is there any current music that you like in particular?  Arists you would like to collaborate with?
RS:  I like a lot of hip hop and electronic music.  I think that I will do much collaboration in my life, with people from all over and all kinds of sounds.  I am also really getting into a lot of older stuff I'm just finding out about.  Bowie is new to me, so I'm kind of all over the place chronologically as far as what I'm listening to.

:  Last fall you toured with The Strokes.  What was the tour like?
RS:  At times all kinds of different things - educational, crazy, exhausting, fun, life changing, eye opening.

TW:  It was apparent to me at the concert I attended that The Strokes have a great deal of respect for you.  What do you think of them?
RS:  I think they are very talented and driven musicians.  I think they are hard working and passionate about what they do and they want to support things they like.  They were very supportive of me, and encouraging.  It's safe to say I'll never forget touring with them.

TW: What response did you get from their fans?
RS:  Mixed.  Some were really supportive and sweet, some couldn't care less, some thought it was crap, all possibilities were covered.

TW:  You also recently collaborated with them on the bonus track "Modern Girls & Old Fashioned Men" featured on their single "Reptilia."  What was it like to work with them during the recording process?
RS:  It was a very spontaneous process, it sort of came together in one day in Seattle... we had a few prior rehearsals.

TW:  Where would you like your career to go from here?  Where do you see it going?  What are your goals?
RS:  I want to work more - I want to start working on a new record, and tour more.  But I would like to find a home first, I think it's important for me to take some time right now and find the right label that can support me and my ideas.  And hopefully after that is sorted, I can work further, and then get more of myself and my music out there.
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interview by Ashley Graham