I would recommend a Brother before a Singer. I have a little Singer Featherweight II (not the classic old black machine, this is a "new" Featherweight) and have always had issues with it. Sooo frustrating!
Also, before you go buy retail, check Craigslist
in your area or the classifieds in your paper. Sewing machines are often in the classifieds and you can get a great deal. I bought my Janome through Craigslist. It's a $3000 machine, I paid $400.
You may get more machine than you know what to do with, but that's a good thing!