Traveling first to Austria and then Italy, the Spektor family was admitted to the United States as refugees with the assistance of HIAS (the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society).
They settled in the Bronx, where Spektor graduated from the SAR Academy, a Jewish day middle school in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.
Spektor attended high school for two years at the Frisch School, a yeshiva in Paramus, New Jersey, but transferred to a public school, Fair Lawn High School, in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, where she finished the last two years of her high school education.
Although she had always made up songs around the house, she first became interested in more formal songwriting during a visit to Israel with the Nesiya Institute in her teenage years when she attracted attention from the other children on the trip for the songs she made up while hiking.
Spektor completed the four-year studio composition program of the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College within three years, graduating with honors in 2001.
When she was 9 years old, her family emigrated to the United States where she continued her classical training into her teenage years; she began to write original songs shortly thereafter.
After self-releasing her first three records and gaining popularity in New York City's independent music scenes, particularly the anti-folk scene centered on New York City's East Village, Spektor signed with Sire Records in 2004 where she began achieving greater mainstream recognition.
Spektor was born in 1980 in Moscow, Soviet Union, to a musical Russian Jewish family.Her father, Ilya Spektor, is a photographer and amateur violinist.Her mother, Bella Spektor, was a music professor in a Soviet college of music and teaches at a public elementary school in Mount Vernon, New York.She has a brother Boruch (also known as Bear), who was featured in track 7, "* * *", or "Whisper", of her 2004 album, Soviet Kitsch.Growing up in Moscow, Regina learned how to play the piano by practicing on a Petrof upright that her grandfather gave her mother.The seriousness of her piano studies led her parents to consider not leaving the Soviet Union, but they finally decided to emigrate, due to the racial, ethnic, and political discrimination that Jews faced.