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Spek's appeal

by: Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2007-03-20

Regina Spektor

Regina Spektor

One of America's best-kept Jewish secrets, Regina Spektor has been wowing fans in London over the past few weeks.

The Russian songstress, who left Eastern Europe in 1989 for New York, even performed a showcase last month at West London Synagogue in central London.

Spektor, 26, was born in Moscow, the daugher of a photographer and a music professor, and began studying classical piano when she was six. She studied music in New York and eventually, after years of struggling, she got her big break in 2004, supporting chart-toppers The Strokes on tour.

She subsequently signed a record deal and released her debut album, Soviet Kitsch, although it was the follow-up, Begin To Hope, that gave her her first taste of mainstream, success, selling 160,000 copies in the US.

"It feels really good because it feels very real," Spektor told the BBC News website. "People listened to it and they told their friends or their family about it. That's the most that anybody could ever want."

In the UK, she's best known for the recent single Fidelity, which featured in the drama series Grey's Anatomy (shown on Five) and was a huge hit with Youtube viewers. Her music has also been heard in TV shows Veronica Mars, CSI:NY and Weeds, as well as on a long-running ad for Sky television in 2005.

And she's not shy about her Jewish background. As well as appearing on the cover of Begin To Hope wearing a Magen David, she also appeared at the second annual Jewish Music and Heritage Festival in New York in 2005, performing covers of songs by Leonard Cohen and Madonna.