How motherhood has changed Regina Spektor's songwriting

Regina Spektor’s 2013 theme song “You’ve Got Time” for the Netflix series “Orange is the New Black” received an Emmy nomination in 2014. Spektor has been on a break since then. Now, she’s back with her first album in four years, “Remember Us to Life.”

“I don’t feel like I went anywhere,” Spektor said, sitting down with “CBS This Morning: Saturday” co-host Anthony Mason at the Gibson Showroom in New York City.

A lot has happened to the 36-year-old singer -- most notably, motherhood. Her son was born in 2014, but she found it hard to write during pregnancy.

“After the baby was born, I was more sleep deprived, like absolutely awestruck,” Spektor said. “And somehow, with that least amount of time, I was able to do the most work I had done in years.” 

“What do you think caused that?” Mason asked.

“I actually got really organized. And I would just, you know -- with baby puke in my hair and like smelling like a monkey -- I would just be like, ‘OK, I’m just going to go and have no expectations and just art for the fun of it.’ And it got fun.”

Spektor has been making music since she started studying classical piano at age 6 in the former Soviet Union. Her parents emigrated from Moscow to the Bronx when she was 9. It would be 23 years before she’d return to Russia to play a concert there in 2012. 

“My husband, he’s from there too, except he came at 2-and-a-half. And we went to see my childhood home and the place where he was born,” Spektor said. “And I saw my... first piano teacher for the first time since I was 9. It was incredible. We don’t get to time travel, but it’s as close to time traveling as I’ve come. It was super emotionally charged.”

“In some ways, you probably could have also imagined a completely alternate trajectory to your life,” Mason said.

“I tried to imagine it. I had a very hard time doing it. So much of me is in English, so much of me is New York, so much of me is the Bronx, so much of me is America,” Spektor said.

But in the U.S. and the USSR, music has always been essential to Spektor.

“It’s almost like some kind of a meditative thing where you’re just like turning a rock over in your hands and you think you’ve done it for maybe 30, 40 minutes and you look up and it’s really been like seven hours, you know?” Spektor said, breaking into a smile. “Until the words are just right in your mouth and everything just fits right and then you’re like, ‘I wrote a song!’ it’s so, ‘Yes, I’m so happy!’”