“This is a good time to look back and say ‘Here’s what I’ve done,’” reflects Suzanne Vega, one of music’s most distinctive singers and storytellers. “If you had said in high school that this kid who technically couldn’t sing and wasn’t outgoing would have a 20-year career as a performer and pop songwriter nobody would’ve believed you. I’m still very much that teenage girl in my room wondering how my music can connect with people, can I put my vision into words, do other people see what I see? There’s still a thrill about that for me.”

As she looks to the future, her first U.S.-issued anthology summarizes her past. RetroSpective: The Best Of Suzanne Vega (A&M/UME), released (April 22, 2003), features 21 career highlights spanning each of her albums to date, including hits, signature tracks and rarities.

“I’ve had the freedom to do what I wanted, on my own terms and on my own timetable. I’m very handmade,” says Vega. “I see my career as a spiral, revolving around the central point of my guitar and lyrics.” When her “Luka” hit #3 pop in 1987, earning her three Grammy nominations, including for Record of the Year, Vega ushered in a female, acoustic, folk-pop singer-songwriter movement that would include the likes of Tracy
Chapman, Shawn Colvin, and Indigo Girls as well as the Lilith Fair phenomenon.

“Others thought what I was doing was a novelty. I wasn’t overtly pop at a time when the charts had Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and The Bangles. But I don’t look at it as breaking barriers. I just wanted to write poetic, complicated, emotional, urban songs. I made the music I wanted to make and expressed myself to the fullest.”

Though born in Santa Monica, CA, after her parents divorced she grew up in Spanish Harlem and the Upper West Side of New York City. Influenced by her computer systems analyst mother and Puerto Rican writer stepfather and the multicultural music they played, from Motown, folk and cool jazz to Beatles pop and bossa nova, she began playing guitar at age 11 and as a teenager began writing songs.

At the High School for the Performing Arts she studied dance but at Barnard College she was a literature major. A 1979 Lou Reed concert proved an inspiration for her vision of contemporary folk. While supporting herself as a receptionist, she attended the Greenwich Village songwriter’s Exchange and played folk festivals and Lower East Side coffeehouses, including The Bottom Line and Folk City. Soon after she graduated from
college in 1982, she was the local folk scene’s brightest hope.

But record companies saw little prospect of commercial success. Vega’s demo tape was rejected by every major record company--twice by A&M. She was finally signed in 1984--by A&M. “Acoustic music had gone from the public scene,” she remembers, “but not from people’s lives. People will always play it because all you
need is a guitar. It’s a very independent music and I’m a very independent person. I could just get on a Greyhound to any town, set up and sing.”

Marlene on the Wall (live)




Folk/Acoustic Rock/Americana
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Hugh Hamilton

10/24/2007 9:20:43 AM
You're rockin' out in STUDIO TWO today!!! MY ACHIN'!!! Hope Sully's heart can stand it...rock on, Suzanne!! :)


 

       

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Alexis Hello Suzanne, I have added your beautiful song "MARLENE ON THE WALL" in my Station, Feel free to check out my tunes too .... ;) All the best, Alexis
Johnny B. Always a fan. Please consider us @ Big Dogs That Talk. There are a couple there I think you'll like. All the best to you.
Zayra Yves I have always enjoyed your music and the lyrical prose style of your words. I am new around here and happy to find you.
Big Dogs That Talk Finally figured this thing out. Please consider us. Sincerely, Johnny B.
Roy Muniz LOVE THE SONG SUZANNA, I LIKE THE LAST TWO SENTENCESOF THE BIO, I RELATE WELL.
pip and merry pleas give pip 8 merry a hear would be grateful ,wish you agood life.x pip.
* Your song 'Marlene on the Wall (live)' has just been added to WIZARDS BREATHE station!
* Your song 'Marlene on the Wall (live)' has just been added to WIZARDS BREATHE station!
Joe Santa Maria Hi Suzanne , I took allot of heat for covering "Luka" in my band years ago...I loved playing it though! Peace..Joe
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Suzanne Vega