By  on November 27, 2007

LOS ANGELES?— Meiko Sheppard is hoping to leave her days of waiting tables behind her. Since emerging on the music scene here in June with her self-released debut album, the folk-pop singer has been making waves on the Web, and there's a possible record deal in the works. "I've been a waitress all my life, it seems," she says, "but now I want the world to hear my music." Here, she wears Kelly Nishimoto's silk dress with Ippolita bangles, Maren & Ruby rings and Jimmy Choo sandals.

Cocktail waitress to rising star might sound like an idealized stereotype of a career trajectory. But it describes exactly the ascent of singer-songwriter Meiko (pronounced Mee-ko) Sheppard, whose rise happened virtually overnight — via cyberspace.

Like so many musicians these days, Meiko, who goes by only her first name professionally, used MySpace to get her self-released debut album, "Meiko," heard and amass a fan base. "I feel like I'm part of an Internet revolution because my music is reaching 14-year-olds in Nebraska," she says. She also keeps her 17,644 fans updated on her life by blogging regularly on the site (where you'll find her comments about the photo shoot for this story). "I have nightmares that my MySpace page gets deleted," she says.

But MySpace isn't the only venue that has proven helpful to her career. The Roberta, Ga., native also has Hollywood's The Hotel Café to credit. Two years ago, soon after quitting her job waiting tables at an Indian restaurant, she booked her first show at The Hotel Café with the help of a music-industry friend who introduced her to their sound man. She fell in love with the restaurant/music venue and thought it would be a great place to work. "I begged them for any kind of job." She has been working there ever since while slowly booking better show slots. "I would see good shows every time I worked. It was a good balance of loving the music and working my butt off," she says. This is where music supervisors from the TV show "Grey's Anatomy" spotted Meiko during one of her sets and featured her songs "Reasons to Love You," on the Sept. 27 season premiere, and "Hawaii," on the Oct. 18 episode. The former reality TV junkie had never seen "Grey's Anatomy" until her songs were on the show, but now, she says, "I'm addicted to it."

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