Suzanne Vega, who jumped out of the New York City coffeehouse folk scene of the 1980s to score Top 40 hits with "Luka" and "Tom's Diner," is still making records and touring the world.
Suzanne has always worked with people outside the folk world but stayed rooted in it. She's even figured out how to make a living in a time when many artists are being impoverished by the rise of streaming music.
Suzanne Vega talked about her two Top 40 hits, "Luka" and "Tom's Diner":
"I'm aware that to some people I'll always be a pop singer from the '80s. But let's just say I've never let my success hinder me. I do what I want. Everywhere I go I can sing those two songs and people know my voice, and they know those two songs. And then I also have this other audience that loves 'Caramel' and 'Gypsy' and 'The Queen and the Soldier.' In a way, I've created the best of both worlds."
Suzanne on her early musical idols:
"I loved Paul Simon. I really loved Bob Dylan. I was fascinated by his mind, his ideas, what he did with an acoustic guitar. I also loved Leonard Cohen, who I discovered in my teens, the intimacy of his voice and his sound and the things he wrote about. I also was profoundly influenced by Lou Reed when I saw him at the age of 19."
Suzanne Vega talks about her relationship to folk music and the future:
"With every album I make, I take my instrument, the acoustic guitar, and I mix it with whatever is the current technology of the day. On the one hand, I'm very rooted in storytelling and melody and all of the things you need to have a good folk song, but I also love the idea of being modern and being progressive and being that avatar of the future."
Suzanne Vega explains how she is thriving in the post-record company streaming world:
"I'm doing okay, and one of the reasons I'm doing okay is because I started my own record company, and I've released a series called The Closeup Series. I re-recorded basically my whole back catalog of 70 songs in a more acoustic, intimate way. And so I have that to license. I have that on Spotify, and because I am the record owner, I get way more than just as an artist."