Michal Shapiro (aka Mikhal) is the daughter of a mother who was a painter and a father who was an architect. She grew up combining interests in art and music. A professional singer from the age of nine, she studied singing for seven years. She took a bachelor's degree in fine arts from Queens College, then left school after completing half of a master's degree to pursue music. "It's been back and forth with music and art for most of my life," she says, "but I never stopped doing either one."
In the late 1960s, Shapiro replaced Carly Simon as the lead singer of the rock group Elephant's Memory, and she can be heard on their first two albums, Elephant's Memory (1969) and Songs from Midnight Cowboy (a revamped version of its predecessor), as well as on the Midnight Cowboy soundtrack album. She left the group before it became involved with John Lennon.
Shapiro became a freelance music producer in 1995. Working with Ellipsis Arts, she was involved in the label compilations Planet Squeezebox: Accordion Music From Around the World, Klezmer Music: A Marriage of Heaven and Earth, Celtic Lullaby, Unblocked: Music of Eastern Europe, Latin Lullaby, and Dancing With the Dead: The Music of Global Death Rites. In 1998, Ellipsis Arts released her own album, Full Flower, for which she adopted the name Mikhal because, she notes, "I was tired of being reviewed as 'Michael.' (Blame it on 'spell check'!)"
In addition to her musical work, Shapiro is music acquisitions coordinator for WorldLink TV, a satellite television station that is a basic service of Direct TV and the DISH network, and is responsible for the content of the world music blocks that they show several times each day.