Ponce began her musical journey studying classical violin. By high school, she was a soloist in the Maryland Youth Symphony and spent two years attending prep school at Baltimore's prestigious Peabody Conservatory. She received numerous scholarships and fellowships and furthered her classical studies at the Manhattan School of Music and Syracuse University.
Upon graduation, Ponce purchased an electric violin and decided to pursue a career as a pop artist rather than a classical performer. A chance meeting with Yes vocalist Jon Anderson in 1993 led to her signing a contact with Angel Records, with whom she released her first solo album (with vocals), Imago, in 1997.