Regina Spektor's life reads like a fairytale. A piano playing child leaves Soviet Russia ending up in New York as a refugee, before conquering the world with her own brand of idiosyncratic pop.
But it is a tale she admits wouldn't have been possible without the internet allowing a global audience to find her.
Spektor performed at the Auckland Town Hall this evening and when she looks out into the crowd and there's more than ten people there, she always thanks the internet.
“I grew up thinking I had a silly voice and because I didn't take that seriously there's something great about being scrappy about something and thinking I have a beautiful gift.”
The yin to her untutored vocal yang is her piano playing honed from the age of seven.
Her Jewish family left Russia to escape discrimination. She put off returning to play a concert until earlier this year.
“I was so freaking out that everything would look totally different,” she says.
“I was imagining McDonalds and billboards and nothing looking the same and I was actually amazed so many things looked the same as when I was little.”
But don't ask her to explain how she went from Russia to play cafes in New York, to going global - Spektor doesn't plan a thing.
“I now know that as I live life, art accumulates like sediment and builds up and up and then I’ll write a song or a poem or notice a painting in a wall.”
Though a musical based on Sleeping Beauty she is working on is proving more illusive - it may, she says, be 10 years away.