Suzanne Nadine Vega (born July 11, 1959) is an American singer-songwriter known for her eclectic folk-inspired music.
Two of Vega's songs (both from her second album Solitude Standing, 1987) reached the top 10 of various international chart listings: "Luka" and "Tom's Diner". The latter was originally an a cappella version on Vega's album, which was then remade in 1990 as a dance track produced by the British dance production team DNA.
Vega has released eight studio albums to date, the latest of which is Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles, released in 2014.
Vega's song "Tom's Diner" was used as the reference track in an early trial of the MP3 compression system, thus earning her the distinction of being named "The Mother of the MP3". Because it is an a cappella vocal with relatively little reverberation, it was used as the model for Karlheinz Brandenburg's sound compression algorithm.
Brandenburg heard "Tom's Diner" on a radio playing the song and was
excited and at first convinced it would be "nearly impossible to
compress this warm a cappella voice."
"Tom's Diner" takes place in Tom's Restaurant at 112th Street and Broadway in New York City. Exterior shots of the same restaurant appear in the television sitcom Seinfeld
as Monk's, which is the eatery where Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer
hang out. The DNA remix of the track was so popular that it inspired
many cover versions—the best of which were eventually collected by Vega
on an album titled Tom's Album. The remixed version of "Tom's Diner" was later sampled by hip hop artist Nikki D in her single "Daddy's Little Girl". Rapper Tupac Shakur sampled the track in "Dopefiend's Diner".