Ingrid Michaelson – Human Again
When one looks back on Ingrid Michaelson’s early life all the evidence points to one inevitable career path. However, although she was born to parents who were both musically inclined Ingrid didn’t warm to the idea immediately.
“When I was four years old my parents put me in for piano lessons because I would often sit at the piano and just strike away at the keys, playing nonsense. Apparently I said ‘You can put me in front of the piano but I won’t play’. I never liked the idea of sitting down and practicing – in fact I still don’t! Still, I am thankful and will forever be in their debt for forcing me to take those lessons for ten years.”
Even then Ingrid’s initial thoughts at college leaned towards theatre.
“I went to college to study theatre and wanted to be on Broadway but soon after graduating and doing a few plays I quickly realised that I was better suited to write my own music rather than continually auditioning for other people’s creations.
“Once I’d made my mind up I stuck to it but the early years certainly weren’t easy. I decided that my path was going to be a musical one and though writing and performing small shows was the simple part, making a living around that proved to be a lot more difficult. I went through five years of playing tiny, dirty basement bars!”
Five years is a long time in any industry but in the music business you can scale the heights and then disappear into obscurity in five months so how much change has she been witness to since those early days?
“I think that I started to find my real outlet for success as the music industry turned to TV and movie placements to widen its reach. This certainly helped make it possible for me and others like me to remain independent but still expand their fan base. Since 2007 that has just intensified and I am noticing that more and more artists are taking that route and gaining a great deal more success because of it.”
One of the big changes to the industry has come about through the Internet and Ingrid is quick to talk up the merits of the platform.
“Being able to communicate directly with your fans is probably one of the great benefits of the web. To have that kind of relationship with fans and people who really appreciate your music is invaluable to me.”
We then moved onto the topic of reality TV and the effects the likes of X Factor have on the music business. Was she a fan?
“Oh! I don’t know? They are entertaining and at the very least we get to watch people with real talent. Whether it helps or hinders the industry as a whole I really couldn’t say.”
Her new album marks a step up in terms of involvement and it is something Ingrid clearly relishes.
“Human Again is a bigger record for me. I wrote all but one of the songs after David Kahne, my producer, asked me why my live singing was so much bolder than on my albums. I took it as a challenge and wrote these very vocally dynamic songs. Opening up like that allowed me to expand my range lyrically and emotionally too. In turn this allowed for a heavier production to lay on top. I think the new single Blood Brothers clearly illustrates this point.”
There’s no doubting Ingrid’s latest release does have a fuller, more rounded feel to it and you get a sense when listening to the songs that she is more intimate with the material than perhaps she was in the past.
There also appears to be a growing trend from artists to have their music more involved with TV shows and cinema and Ingrid has been at the forefront of this move.
“Using these mediums is just such a great way to get people to hear your music. I have only once written a song for a movie (it is coming out this week!). All the other placements I have been lucky enough to enjoy have been using previously created music.”
With a full tour accompanying the album and British audiences likely to see her playing around the county in November, the outlook has perhaps never been brighter for this talented artist.
A woman who eats, sleeps and dreams her craft, I had to sign off by finding out what she does in the little spare time she has outside of music.
“When I relax the thing I love to do so much is bake! I am a baker! As soon as I am home from tour or inbetween albums I am in my kitchen, busy creating. I find it so relaxing.”
So if she ever does hang up her guitar could we see Ingrid Michaelson the pastry girl…?
“I’m planning on being around a long time yet,” she concludes with a smile.
Human Again is out now on CD and iTunes.
George R Vaughan
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