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Suzanne Vega Biography

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Suzanne Nadine Vega (born July 11, 1959) is an American songwriter and singer known for her poetic lyrics and eclectic folk-inspired music.

Suzanne Vega was born in Santa Monica, California. Her mother was a computer systems analyst of German-Swedish extraction. Her father was a writer from Puerto Rico.[1]

When Suzanne was two and a half, the family moved to New York City. She grew up in Spanish Harlem and the Upper West Side. At the age of nine she began to write poems; she wrote her first song at age 14. Later she attended New York's prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts (the school seen in the feature film musical Fame). There she studied modern dance and graduated in 1977.

While majoring in English literature at Columbia University's Barnard College, she performed in small venues in Greenwich Village, where she was a regular contributor to the Monday night songwriters group at the Cornelia Street Cafe. In 1984, she received a major label record contract.

Vega's debut album, Suzanne Vega, was released in 1985 and was well received by critics in the US; it reached platinum status in Britain. Produced by Lenny Kaye and Steve Addabbo, the songs feature Vega's acoustic guitar in straightforward arrangements. Vega's writing often featured vignettes of characters and even inanimate objects, such as in "Small Blue Thing". A video was released for the album's song "Marlene on the Wall", which went into MTV and VH1's rotations.

Her next effort, Solitude Standing (1987), garnered critical and commercial success including two hit singles: "Tom's Diner", and "Luka." "Luka" is written about and from the point of view of a battered child—at the time an uncommon subject for a pop hit¹. While continuing a focus on Vega's acoustic guitar, the music is more strongly pop-oriented and features fuller, more sensual arrangements. The a capella "Tom's Diner" was later a hit again, remixed by two British dance producers under the name DNA.

Vega's third album, Days of Open Hand (1990) signified a change in style: the music became more experimental, and the lyrics expressed greater emotion.

In 1992 she released the album 99.9F° ("ninety-nine point nine Fahrenheit degrees "). It consists of an eclectic mixture of folk music, dance beats and industrial music.

Her fifth album, Nine Objects of Desire, was released in 1996. The music varies between a frugal, simple style and the industrial production of 99.9F°. This album contains "Caramel", featured in the movie The Truth About Cats and Dogs and, later, the trailer for the movie Closer. A song not included on that album, "Woman on the Tier," was featured on the soundtrack of the movie Dead Man Walking.

September 2001 saw the release of a new album, Songs In Red and Gray. Three songs deal with Vega's divorce from record producer Mitchell Froom.

At the memorial concert for her brother Timothy Vega in December 2002, she began as the long-term subject of a direct cinema documentary, Some Journey, by director Christopher Seufert of Mooncusser Films.

In 2003, the 21-song greatest hits compilation Retrospective: The Best of Suzanne Vega was released. (The UK version of Retrospective included an eight-song bonus CD as well as a DVD containing twelve songs.) In the same year she was invited by Grammy Award-winning jazz guitarist Bill Frisell to play at the Century of Song concerts at the famed RuhrTriennale in Germany.

In 2003, she hosted the American Public Media radio series American Mavericks, about 20th century American composers.

She signed with Blue Note Records in the spring of 2006. She plans to go into the recording studios in the fall of 2006, with the aim of releasing a new studio album in early 2007.[2]

Vega has a daughter, Ruby Froom (born July 8, 1994). The band Soul Coughing's Ruby Vroom album took its name from her, with Suzanne's approval, though she requested a slight change.[3]

On February 11, 2006, Vega married Paul Mills, a lawyer and a poet. They originally met each other at Folk City on West 4th Street in 1981. In their own humorous words, Mr. Mills proposed to Miss Vega in May, 1983, and she accepted his proposal on Christmas Day, 2005. [4]

On August 3, 2006, Vega became the first major recording artist to perform live in the online game, Second Life. The event was hosted by John Hockenberry of public radio's The Infinite Mind.

On September 17, 2006, she performed in Central Park as part of a benefit concert for The Save Darfur Coalition. [5] During the concert she highlighted her support for Amnesty International, of which she has been a member for nearly a decade. [6]

¹ On a 1987 Swedish television special, Suzanne Vega said this about the song "Luka" :
Artist information courtesy of their Wikipedia entry, which is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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