Regina Spektor is a songwriter’s songwriter.
She is funny, quirky, unabashed, unafraid, honest, caring, and talented.
She’s a piano player, a masterful lyricist, and someone who considers a question as thoroughly as possible. With exquisite songs like “Après Moi” and “On The Radio,” she’s filled living rooms, apartments, headphones, and more with her gleeful, mature music.
But with such talent, one wonders what the 42-year-old Spektor might have to say about the world around her outside of her song choices. What does she think about life and love, what has she said about her craft, her Russian roots, and her New York City upbringing?
Well, that is exactly the subject of this inquiry. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the 20 best Regina Spektor quotes.
1. “This is the way I wanna die. Torn apart by angry fans who want me to play a different song.”
2. “I go through insanity before a show. It’s not really a process but it’s like absolute mortal fear.”
3. “Tomorrow you might get a phone call about something wonderful and you might get a phone call about something terrible.”
4. “I’ve been thinking a lot about space. It was one of those slow-motion realizations of how little we are, how far we are from everything else in our solar system. This idea of distance started kind of haunting me. How do you go forth and accomplish things but not end up leaving everything you started out with in the dust?”
5. “I used to be such a militant city-ist, but more and more I’ve seen forests and nature and oceans, and I don’t know anymore if this is the awesomest way to live.”
6. “I’ve done that kind of stuff in records, where you start going back and you want to just redo everything, destroy everything because you think it all sucks and you can do it better.”
7. “The only thing they really get to pick is the single. But I get to pick the producer, the songs on the record, the final masters, and the artwork. Basically, I hand them a record.”
8. “It’s a real gift to be able to have the works of brilliant, great people to learn from and build from. It gives you so much more to draw on, and then you don’t have to be all about three-chord pop songs. I don’t really like that kind of writing.”
9. “I knew all this Beatles music. I knew the songs phonetically. It was like my whole experience of that music was out of focus, and somebody put the perfect glasses on me, and all of a sudden I could see everything.”
10. “I think songwriters are more related to fiction writers. The Odyssey was a story in song. To me, that’s so beautiful, all those painted characters, all those travels, and adventures.”
11. “You make something, and you really have fun with it, and you try to put emotion in it, and at the end of the day, you have no idea how the tide is going to fall. You don’t know if everyone’s going to like it, if everyone’s going to hate it, if it’s going to be like you’re a media darling or all of a sudden you’re a sellout. You have no idea.”
12. “When you’re playing such brilliant music every day, then the last thing you ever want to do is try to write something of your own that’s crude and not as good.”
13. “I write a tiny fraction of what I used to write. My only job used to be to just write songs, and that was a really nice job to have, but only a tiny amount of people heard those songs, and I didn’t make a living from it, and eventually, I begged my parents to let me move back into my room.”
14. “I’d always wanted to work in the studio and experiment with sounds. Things that I’m really influenced by and that I love are like The Beatles and Radiohead, and all those records by bands whose music is really involved.”
15. “I figured, ‘If I ever get offered a chance to sign a deal, I’ll only do it if I got to do it how I want.’ So my contract is structured in such a way that I’m really protected.”
16. “I just like being all over the place and writing whatever comes to mind. Having the tools? It’s such a gift.”
17. “I would really hate it if I could call up Kafka or Hemingway or Salinger and any question I could throw at them they would have an answer. That’s the magic when you read or hear something wonderful—there’s no one that has all the answers.”
18. “It feels very good to sing in Russian. It feels so good inside my body.”
19. “It’s not like I have all the answers.”
20. “I care so much about making things that are useful for people to have and listen to, but I don’t care so much that I won’t do whatever the hell I want. It’s just one of those things.”
Photo by Shervin Lainez