Ingrid Michaelson gets darker with Lights Out
New York singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson is back with her fifth studio album, Lights Out. The new release via Cabin 24/Mom + Pop/RED lifts the indie-pop sweetheart to the level of bona fide star, and marks Michaelson’s initial foray into collaborative songwriting. The album recorded in New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville enlists the aid of six producers and ten co-writers including Busbee (Pink, Katy Perry, Lady Antebellum), Katie Herzig, Trent Dabbs, Mat Kearney, and A Great Big World—the latter two also appearing in duets with the ‘You and I’ singer, who put aside her do-it-yourself approach to songwriting for the new album.
“With every other record, I’ve always written all of the songs,” states Michaelson in a posting on her Facebook page. “I’ve been such a control freak about my songs! But if you can get with the right person, there are ideas you could never come up with. It totally opens doors.” The album’s lead single is ‘Girls Chase Boys,’ a song she co-wrote with Dabbs and Barry Dean. Michaelson says the track—currently at No. 21 on the Mediabase Hot AC radio airplay chart—started out as a break up song, but took on a deeper meaning as she continued writing.
“More than just being about my experience, its focus shifted to include the idea that, no matter who or how we love, we are all the same,” she explains. The accompanying official music video for ‘Girls Chase Boys’ takes the idea a step further by attempting to turn the tables on stereotypical gender roles. “Girls don't exclusively chase boys,” she says. “We all chase each other and in the end we are all chasing after the same thing: love.”
Following the success of 2012’s Human Again, Michaelson’s seemingly perfect career journey “came to a screeching halt” in April 2013. She took time to help a few “seriously ill” relatives, her beloved dog died, and the singer came down with some serious health issues of her own. “My whole throat was on fire for a few months. I had to stop writing,” she reveals about the period that extended into August 2013. “I was so ill, I couldn’t sing.” Visits to numerous doctors eventually got her on the road to recovery, and she was able to resume writing material for Lights Out.
“I don’t think I’ve lost part of my voice … but my voice has somewhat changed,” admits Michaelson. Her recent experience and lower register voice resulted in taking a “creative detour” on Lights Out, which explore dark, yet thoughtful themes about morality and “letting go.” There are still tracks such as ‘Time Machine’ and ‘Girls Chase Boys’ that fit nicely into her signature pop catalog, but there’s also the ethereal ‘Handsome Hands,’ a “left-of-center offering” that discusses death and a higher power. In addition, ‘Wonderful Unknown’ is a “positive, if beguiling narrative” about the fears and uncertainties of growing old with a spouse.
Michaelson’s life experiences and maturity have brought her “meaningful change” that is expressed on Lights Out. “It’s funny. It doesn’t even feel like I wrote ‘The Way I Am,’” she says of her 2007 platinum-selling breakout single. She does, however, still perform the song on tour. “It feels like a little girl wrote that song. So much has happened to me since then,” reflects the 34-year-old songstress, who kicks off spring and summer tour dates in the U.S. and Canada on April 21 in Montreal.
Watch the official music video for ‘Girls Chase Boys’ off the new Ingrid Michaelson LP titled, Lights Out.
As A Matter of Fact…
* Ingrid Ellen Egbert Michaelson was born December 8, 1979, in New York City. Her artistic parents are composer Carl Michaelson and sculptor Elizabeth Egbert. Young Ingrid began playing piano at age four and trained at Manhattan's Third Street Music School and the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island's Dorothy Delson Kuhn Music Institute.
* Michaelson is a graduate of Staten Island Technical High School and Binghamton (N.Y.) University, where she received a degree in theater. She began recording her own music in 2002, using Myspace and other Internet outlets to promote her original songs, while performing them in New York City cafes and other small venues.
* In 2005, Michaelson, self-released the album Slow The Rain on her own Cabin 24 Records, and sold the CD at gigs and online as a digital download. The independently released follow up, Girls and Boys, was also streamed on Myspace, where it was noticed by a music producer from the Grey's Anatomy drama series and several record companies.
* The Girls and Boys single ‘The Way I Am’ reached No. 37 on the Billboard Hot 100 and cracked the Top 20 of the Adult Contemporary and Adult Top 40 charts. In 2008, the compilation Be OK was released as her third album, featuring the title track single that appeared on several TV shows and commercials.
* The album Everybody debuted on No. 18 on the Billboard 200 in 2009, and the single ‘Maybe’ was again popular with critics and TV producers. Michaelson’s 2010 single ‘Parachute’ was also popular with singer Cheryl Cole, who recorded the song for her 3 Words album.
* Michaelson’s music has been featured in episodes of several popular television shows including The Vampire Diaries, Scrubs, Body of Proof, Bones, Grey's Anatomy, The Big C, In Plain Sight, and One Tree Hill. She also hosts a web series on SoulPancake called Little Kids. Big Questions.
* A song written by Michaelson titled ‘Blood Brothers’ is the anthem for a Human Rights Campaign (HRC) video that plays in Russia. Celebrities including Kristen Bell, Kevin Bacon, Jamie Lee Curtis, and many others appear in the video wearing the Russian version of HRC's Love Conquers Hate t-shirt, which is sold to raise funds for LGBT advocates in Russia.