Suzanne Vega was born in santa monica on july 11, 1959, but moved with her mother to new york city just a year later. she grew up assuming she was half-puerto rican and that writer ed vega was her biological father, until she was told the awful truth: her real father lived in california, and was quite caucasian, thank you. both of her biological parents turned out to be musicians: her mother was a jazz guitarist, and her father was a drummer in the '20s and '30s.

Vega's parents encouraged her to become an artist, considering it "the only reasonable thing in this society that a person could do." although she began to write poetry at nine years old, and at fourteen broadened her scope to include songwriting, vega wanted to be a dancer for a long while. she attended new york's high school for the performing arts and studied modern dance. around the age of nineteen, though, her interests again shifted toward music. an english literature major at barnard college by day, she would visit greenwich village clubs and college coffeehouses by night, looking for a place to perform.

At first she was assumed to be a "'60s throwback" due to her "folkie" acoustic guitar approach. but around the early '80s, suzanne vega finally became part of the "scene" in greenwich village and joined the coop/fast folk group of songwriters: "that five years i spent there was like finding my own tribe of people."

Because of their reluctance to sign a folk singer to their label, A&M turned vega down twice before manager ron fierstein finally convinced them to give her a chance. they immediately fell in love and signed her in the mid-'80s. suzanne went on to record songs for many many lovely albums:

She even wrote a book called The Passionate Eye, which is a compilation of her writing from 1968 to 1998.

i love suzanne vega.

(thanks, and oh, and thanks, godling, for telling me how to do that degree symbol!)