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Suzanne was born in 1959 in Santa Monica, California. She moved to New York when she was only two and a half, growing up in the city. She attended the High School of Performing Arts, a prestigious institution, where she studied modern dance.
While studying at university, she performed her own songs at small venues in Greenwich Village, where she was often seen at Jack Hardy’s songwriters’ group at the Cornelia Street Café. Some of her first songs made it on to the Fast Folk anthology albums, which were magazines and albums published from 1982 to 1997 – it served as an outlet for singer-songwriters to get their foot in the door.
In 1984, she became the first Fast Folk artist to gain a major label recording contract, and her eponymous debut album was released in 1985. It reached platinum status in the UK, and was also well received in the US, where Suzanne Vega tickets started selling for gigs.
Her next album, Solitude Standing, spawned two classic singles: Tom’s Diner and Luka. Luka was a particular success. Tom’s Diner was remixed in 1990 by a dance outfit, DNA, and increased interest in Suzanne Vega tickets.
Interestingly, Tom’s Diner was used as the reference track in early trialing of the MP3 format – it was chosen because her a capella vocal with minimal reverberation would be exceptionally difficult to compress, so it was used as the basis of the algorithm. Later, Tupac Shakur would sample the track in one of his songs, Dopefiend’s Diner.
Her third album, Days of Open Hand, marked a change in style for Suzanne Vega, and this was followed by 99.9F°, an album which was a mix of folk, dance and industrial music. A few more albums followed, and many Suzanna Vega tickets were purchased by fans old and new. In 2006 she performed in Central Park as part of a benefit concert for the Save Darfur Coalition, where she talked of her ongoing support for Amnesty International.
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