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In New York City, Spektor studied classical piano with Sonia Vargas, a professor at the , until she was 17; Spektor's father had met Vargas through her husband, violinist Samuel Marder.Spektor attended high school for two years at the , a in , but transferred to a public school, , in , where she finished the last two years of her high school education.

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Spektor's first nationwide tour was accompanying as the opening act on their 2003–2004 tour which included performances at .While on the tour, she and the band performed and recorded "".Spektor's 2006 headlining tour in support of the Begin to Hope album included two back-to-back hometown shows at in New York City on September 27 and September 28, 2006.Listeners of 's channel voted her single "Fidelity" as the No. Towards the end of 2006, showcased her as part of their "You Oughta Know: Artists on the Rise" featurettes, playing clips from the "Fidelity" music video and showing parts of an interview with Spektor during commercial breaks on the channel.She also performed at local colleges (such as ) with other musicians, including the .

She sold self-published CDs at her performances during this period: (2001) and (2002).

Spektor is mostly liberal, and a Democrat, but doesn't agree with either of those worldviews when it comes to Israel.

and grew up there until she was nine-years-old when her parents moved to the New York City area by way of Austria and Italy. doesn’t seem to really know what to think about religion. For nearly ten minutes, Spektor–as adorably and endearingly as anyone possibly ever could–rambles incoherently about religion and belief and what’s important in life. I’m just waiting for this whole ‘not allowing gay people to marry’ thing goes into the dark, yucky part of our history — like white-only drinking fountains. And her song, “Ballad of a Politician” doesn’t paint a pretty picture of politicians. She tickles the ivories to the beat of her own drum.

In 2005, she began making her first TV appearances including guest spots on various .

Spektor went on to release the album on June 13, 2006.

Her father, Ilya Spektor, is a photographer and amateur violinist.