Regina Spektor would really appreciate it if you could put your camera phone videos of her performances up online.

Not only do those videos help her remember how the new songs she is working out in concert go, but they also help her retrieve songs that she forgets how to play.

"In Florida I had to go online and go to YouTube and figure out the chords," she says of a song from her 2009 album, "Far." "I've written so much stuff since then that I've pushed it out of my head."

And as far as the bootlegs of songs in progress go, she says if not for those phone videos, the songs "Patron Saint" and "Open" probably wouldn't have even made it onto her new album, "What We Saw from the Cheap Seats."

"I got lucky that it was up there, actually," she says.


It's hard to believe that the singer would forget the latter song, because its repetition of dramatic inhalation during the chorus seems so instantly memorable. But Spektor does a lot of memorable things to make listeners forget that for most of her album and her live performance it's just her voice and her piano. In the new song, "The Party" she purses her lips together to fake a trumpet part.

"When I wrote it, in my mind it was just a placeholder for a real trumpet," she says. "First of all, it's really fun to do; it's a fun feeling, like even walking around the house being a trumpet. If you bring things from their implied state to a real state, sometimes it becomes better and sometimes, I don't know ... you try to feel what's right for the song."

Spektor says "Cheap Seats" producer Mike Elizondo teased her that when she beat boxes she sounds like a drum machine from the 1980s.

"I do a lot of things, like certain little beats and sounds, because I'm a person with a piano and that's it," she says.

'Cheap Seats' manifesto

Spektor has been touring with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for the past few weeks, playing large venues that give the title of her upcoming album new meaning.

"I love Tom Petty so much that I didn't want to be the person that came and their audience didn't like," she says. "But everyone's been so amazing to me."

As for the "Cheap Seats" title, Spektor says it was in her head before she even knew what the album was going to sound like.

"I've been in all kind of seats," she says, "and everything has its beauty, and that's sort of the whole point of the world -- you always get something and you let go of something and each thing has its pluses and its minuses."

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