Regina Spektor shares an expressive set in The Current studio

Regina Spektor in The Current studio
Regina Spektor performs in The Current studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
Regina Spektor performs in The Current studio (full session + interview)
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  • Regina Spektor performs in The Current studio (full session + interview) 22:07
  • Regina Spektor - Older and Taller (Live on The Current) 03:31
  • Regina Spektor - Ballad of a Politician (Live on The Current) 02:49
  • Regina Spektor - Grand Hotel (Live on The Current) 02:52
  • Regina Spektor - The Visit (Live on The Current - bonus web audio) 04:02

The Current is fortunate to share space with its Classical MPR colleagues — and that good fortune becomes really evident when recording a session in the Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser studio and its beautiful Steinway piano, particularly when Regina Spektor is at the keys. "I've been here a lot and I love this piano," Spektor says. "This is a really special one. It feels like it's got a lot to say."

In the Twin Cities for a sold-out show at the Palace Theatre in St. Paul, Minn., Spektor, along with cellist Yoed Nir, stopped at The Current for a session hosted by Jim McGuinn.

Spektor is looking forward to performing in the recently rehabbed and newly opened Palace Theatre. "I love old theaters," Spektor says. "I'm always in disbelief when things that are old get torn down. That makes me really happy it was restored … I'm glad I get to play it."

McGuinn and Spektor enjoy a deep, thoughtful conversation between Spektor's expressive song performances. Use the audio player above to hear the complete in-studio session and interview with Regina Spektor.

Interview Highlights

On whether or not her songs are autobiographical:
"I feel like with music, people have this idea that you either write about yourself — and that's really personal — or you just write using fiction, and that's not that personal, it's kind of arm's length," she says. "But to me, I truly believe that fiction and surrealism and psychedelic thoughts are just as personal. … In everything, I think that just you processing art through yourself is very personal, so in that way, all the songs are about me."

On how experiences inform who people are as individuals:
"If you think of all of us as just these systems that are here to process the world, we're dealt a certain biology, so we have an almost factory setting right out of the box, and then things happen to us and those things alter it, and then we become these lenses of experience. And I think that's the personal part of ourselves: how we take all that and process that into the world, what it makes us.

"To me, I think a lot of sorrow and pain in the world in general — even inside people, like their own tumultuous existential pain — comes from the fact that they're not necessarily using their gifts and their personal lens in a way where they feel like they're being useful. … I think we really prize a certain kind of success in our world, but I think that the [real] success is being able to find something where you click into and you're able to use the system that you are in a way that's helpful."

On her feelings about the United States as a Russian immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen:

"I came here with refugee status and as an immigrant, so then you become part of this immigrant-refugee community, and you love America in this way that is different. There's a certain kind of way that a puppy that was born into a family loves the family, and there's a different way that a dog that's been sheltered and got rescued from the pound loves the family. I always feel like that — where I feel so much love and such a desire to protect the ideals of America. When I was sworn in as a citizen, I was asked, 'Will you fight for this country? Will you protect this country?' And I really took that oath very, very seriously. I thought, 'Yes, I will always fight for all the ideals that America represents to me.' It's very rough to watch it fighting this tide that's turning back the clock. …

"At the same time, I'm touring, and I'm seeing all these incredible people every night come to the shows, and they're so open and they're so loving and they're so not down with what's happening. It is giving me a lot of hope."

Songs Performed

"Older and Taller"
"Ballad of a Politician"
"Grand Hotel"
"The Visit" (bonus audio - web only)
The first and third songs are from Regina Spektor's 2016 album,Remember Us Into Life; the second song is from 2012's What We Saw from the Cheap Seats. Both albums are available on Sire Records / Warner Bros.

Hosted by Jim McGuinn
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Engineered by Erik Stromstad
Visuals by Nate Ryan
Web feature by Luke Taylor


Regina Spektor - official site

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  • Regina Spektor performs live in The Current studio Playing the piano has always been a part of Russian-born Regina Spektor's life. She grew up in a family of musicians with her father, a violinist, and her mother, a music professor. She took piano lessons in Russia until 1989 when her family moved via Austria and Italy to the Bronx, where she continued studying classical piano.
  • Regina Spektor - in studio Singer-songwriter Regina Spektor moved to the United States as a kid in 1989; her Jewish family left the Soviet Union to make a home in the less anti-Semitic New York City.

5 Photos

  • Regina Spektor in The Current studio
    Regina Spektor performs in The Current studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Regina Spektor in The Current studio
    Regina Spektor and cellist Yoed Nir perform in The Current studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Regina Spektor in The Current studio
    Regina Spektor performs in The Current studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Regina Spektor in The Current studio
    Regina Spektor performs in The Current studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Regina Spektor in The Current studio
    Cellist Yoed Nir accompanies Regina Spektor in The Current studio (Nate Ryan | MPR)

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