… under this motto I present you my music tip for the weekend.
Maybe one or the other will discover something new.
Listening to music consciously is in my opinion as important as reading a good book.
Today: Suzanne Vega – An Evening of New York Songs and Stories
Suzanne Nadine Vega (born July 11, 1959 in Santa Monica, California) is an American singer and songwriter.
Suzanne Vega was born in Santa Monica in the US state of California. A year after her birth, her mother moved with her to New York, where Vega grew up in East Harlem and on the Upper West Side. She was a young woman. She began writing poetry at the age of nine; she wrote her first song at 14. She initially attended La Guardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, where she studied modern dance. However, she realized that music was her calling. While studying English at Barnard College of Columbia University, she performed on small stages in New York’s Greenwich Village arts district. In 1984, she landed her first recording contract.
Vega writes music largely for her guitar. In production, the songs are arranged for a multi-piece band. She cites Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon and Laura Nyro as her major influences. She was last close friends with Lou Reed, whom she met in the mid-1980s.
The debut album Suzanne Vega, released in 1985, was extremely well received. The songs buck the “bigger is better” motto in the mid-1980s. However, they are not typical protest songs, but rather introspective.
The follow-up album Solitude Standing, released in 1987, contains two songs that made Suzanne Vega known to a wider audience: Tom’s Diner, a song about Tom’s Restaurant, also known for its adaptation by the group DNA and the fact that it was the first song ever converted to the MP3 format, and Luka, a song written from the point of view of an abused child. The music is more rock oriented compared to their first album.
The third album Days of Open Hand, released in 1990, represents a self-contained work. Music and lyrics are carried by mystical symbolism and deep emotions. The music is more experimental compared to the previous albums.
In 1992 99.9°F was released. The album consists of a mix of acoustic folk and songs that move between dance beats and industrial noise.
Album number five, Nine Objects of Desire, was released in 1996, and musically Vega varied the earlier, simpler style with the more detailed production of 99.9F°, as well as with bossa nova.
In September 2001, her album Songs in Red and Gray was released. As an expression of her experiences, the relationship between man and woman, especially their misinterpretations and failures, came to the fore thematically. Musically, Vega again concentrated more on acoustic elements. At the same time, she formulated a higher aspiration for herself than just producing an uncomplicated folk album.
In 2007 appeared Beauty & Crime, the first album released on the record label Blue Note Records.
On February 9, 2010, her album Close-Up Vol. 1, Love Songs (worldwide release date June 14, 2010) was released in the USA on her own label “Amanuensis Productions”. It contains re-recordings of existing songs on the theme of “love”. Until 2012, four albums with re-recordings were released, the second part on the theme of “People, Places and Things,” the third part on the theme of “State of being” and the last part with “Family Songs.” The idea behind this was, on the one hand, to keep the songs available (since she does not have a record contract), and on the other hand, to own at least one version of her own songs, if one already does not have the original recordings. The re-recordings are acoustic versions of the songs.
In 2011 Vega devoted herself mainly to her play Carson McCullers talks about love, a fictional autobiography with specially arranged songs by the writer Carson McCullers, which premiered in New York in April 2011 with Vega in the leading role.
After a seven-year hiatus, Suzanne Vega released a studio album with ten new songs in February 2014. The album is titled Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles and was produced by guitarist Gerry Leonard. Until the middle of the year, Vega was on a world tour in Europe, the United States, Asia and Australia. In 2016, Suzanne Vega came to Germany for a few performances.
Although Suzanne Vega’s commercial success began to wane in the mid-1990s, some of her songs, such as Tom’s Diner and Luka, shaped the musical face of the early decade. The music press took her success in the late Eighties as an opportunity to compare her to musicians Tanita Tikaram, Tracy Chapman, and Michelle Shocked, who were also heavily song-oriented. The simultaneous success brought increased feminist impulses into rock music and helped to improve the position of women in the rock business.
The MP3 research team led by Karlheinz Brandenburg made the first practical tests with the a cappella version of the song Tom’s Diner by Suzanne Vega. In his search for suitable test material, Brandenburg read in a hi-fi magazine that its testers used the song to evaluate loudspeakers, and felt that the piece was a suitable challenge for audio data compression. Tom’s Diner, a song about a small restaurant in New York, thus became the world’s first song in MP3 format – and Suzanne Vega the “mother of mp3”.
In 1998, after three years of marriage, Suzanne Vega separated from her husband Mitchell Froom, the father of her daughter Ruby, born in 1994. She changed manager and record company and devoted herself to her first book, The Passionate Eye: The Collected Writing of Suzanne Vega. In 2006 she married lawyer Paul Mills, with whom she lives in New York.
At this live concert Suzanne Vega tells the stories to the songs. Just sit back and enjoy !
Have fun listening to the music !
Your Chris Weigold
P.S.: Maybe you enjoy the listening pleasure together with a glass of wine from our “Orchestra of Cultures Edition”.