09/10/2012 10:42 am ET

The Best Time I Tried to Blend in With a Bunch of Teenage Girls

It’s no secret that I love Regina Spektor. From casual conversations to internet comment sections, I constantly remind anyone who'll listen how important she and her music are to me. It started years ago, when I was in college in Colorado. I would go to class during the day and work the late shift at a local seedy motel. At midnight, I’d clock out and walk the 20 blocks or so home because I didn’t have a car. This meant I’d usually get home at 12:30 a.m., just in time for 'Late Night With Conan O’Brien.' These weren’t really the worst of times but they weren’t exactly the best either. Often, that show was the best part of my day. And one day, Regina Spektor was the musical guest. She played “Fidelity.” I remember thinking, “Who is this girl with the weird vocals?” Over the next few months, I saw this episode over and over again. It seemed like every time they needed to air a re-run, they'd play it. In the show, at the end of the song, Conan came up to her after and said, “That was one of my favorite performances in a long time. By anybody.” Afterward, her music was always in the back of my mind.

Life happened for a few years and I heard about her here and there, but I didn’t fully connect until I moved to Portland in 2008. I was spending too much time alone and looking for new artists whose catalogs I’d always wanted to explore, so I picked up 'Begin to Hope.' As the saying goes, it’s been on ever since. I’ve listened to all her albums religiously and spent extraordinary amounts of time tracking down vinyl releases for even her most obscure songs.

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