Suzanne Vega to end up the week. At the age of nine she began to write poetry. She was encouraged to do so by her stepfather. It took her 3 years to write her first song, Brother Mine, which was finished at the age of 14.It was first published on Close-Up Vol. 4, Songs of Family, along with her other early song, The Silver Lady.
Vega has not learned to read musical notes; she sees the melody as a shape and chords as colors. She focuses on lyrics and melodic ideas; for advanced features – like intros or bridges – she relies on other artists she works with. Most of her albums, except the first one, were made in such cooperation.
She states that 80% of the songs she started writing get finished.
The most important artistic influences on her work come from Lou Reed, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. Some other important artists for her are Paul Simon and Laura Nyro.
Suzanne Nadine Vega was born on July 11, 1959, in Santa Monica, California. Her mother, Pat Vega (née Schumacher), was a computer systems analyst of German-Swedish heritage. Her father, Richard Peck, is of Scottish-English-Irish origin. They divorced soon after her birth. Her stepfather, Edgardo Vega Yunqué, also known as Ed Vega, was a writer and teacher from Puerto Rico. When Vega was two and a half, her family moved to New York City. She grew up in Spanish Harlem and the Upper West Side.
She was not aware of having a different biological father, Richard Peck, until she was nine years old. They met for the first time in her late 20s and remain in contact.
She attended the High School of Performing Arts, where she studied modern dance and graduated in 1977.
In the 1980s, While majoring in English literature at Barnard College, she performed in small venues in Greenwich Village, where she was a regular contributor to Jack Hardy’s Monday night songwriters’ group at the Cornelia Street Cafe and had some of her first songs published on Fast Folk anthology albums. In 1984, she received a major label recording contract, making her one of the first Fast Folk artists to break out on a major label.
Vega’s self-titled debut album was released in 1985 and was well received by critics in the U.S.; it reached platinum status in the United Kingdom. Produced by Lenny Kaye and Steve Addabbo, the songs feature Vega’s acoustic guitar in straightforward arrangements. A video was released for the album’s song “Marlene on the Wall”, which went into MTV and VH1’s rotations. During this period Vega also wrote lyrics for two songs (“Lightning” and “Freezing”) on Songs from Liquid Days by composer Philip Glass.
Vega’s song “Left of Center” co-written with Steve Addabbo for the 1986 John Hughes film Pretty in Pink reached No. 32 on the UK Singles Chart in 1986.
Her next effort, Solitude Standing (1987), garnered critical and commercial success, selling over a million copies in the U.S. It includes the international hit single Luka, which is written about, and from the point of view of, an abused child—at the time an uncommon subject for a pop hit. While continuing a focus on Vega’s acoustic guitar, the music is more strongly pop-oriented and features fuller arrangements. The a cappella Tom’s Diner from this album was later a hit, remixed by two British dance producers under the name DNA, in 1990. The track was originally a bootleg, until Vega allowed DNA to release it through her record company, and it became her all-time biggest hit.
This concert, from 1990, comes during the time of Vega’s third album, Days of Open Hand (1990), and it continued in the style of her first two albums.
If you’ve missed the earlier incarnation of this legendary singer/songwriter – sit back and enjoy this concert and get caught up.
And get ready for the weekend.