Ingrid Michaelson is proof that sometimes hard work just isn’t enough; sometimes you need a little luck on your side. The Staten Island-based singer/songwriter spent years playing gigs around New York and touring the country in a national theater troupe before getting any attention to speak of. And it wasn’t the long hours that did it — it was MySpace.

Yep, the social media site, which these days harbors a bit of a tenuous reputation, helped Michaelson grab the attention of Secret Road management company in L.A. Songs from Michaelson’s self-produced album Girls and Boys (released in 2006 on her own Cabin 24 Records label) were on the site, and Secret Road owner Lynn Grossman recognized a star in the making. Michaelson’s heart-wrenching “Breakable” in particular caught her attention. Grossman became Michaelson’s manager shortly thereafter.

But like her serendipitous discovery, they weren’t going the traditional route when seeking international acclaim. Instead, Michaelson built a quick and rabid fanbase by providing the catchy soundtrack for popular TV spots, in particular memorable songs for the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack (“Corner of Your Heart” and “Keep Breathing,” which set the tone for the emotional season finale) and an upbeat Old Navy commercial (“The Way I Am”).

What sets Michaelson apart from other flash-in-the-pan chick singers? She looks a little like Lisa Loeb (it’s the glasses), and she sounds like the love child of Feist and Regina Spektor. But her sweetly cheeky lyrics (“I’ll buy you Rogaine when you start losing all your hair”) and her skillful crescendos are all her own. She’s not afraid of a little lyrical repetition, but her lovely voice keeps things from becoming annoying.

Michaelson recently earned attention for her up-beat single “Everybody,” a track off her latest album, released in August of 2009. She’s been making rounds on the talk show circuit, too. A contestant on American Idol covered one of her tunes, and a song which she co-wrote (“Parachute,” Cheryl Cole) is currently No. 1 on the U.K. National Airplay Chart.