An Interview With Ingrid Michaelson

Well, I've posted enough about her, so it's about time I did an interview with the fantastic Ingrid Michaelson. Here it is folks, I hope you enjoy it!

On your second album, "Girls and Boys" you dwell a good deal on a few central themes, including childhood, growing up, relationships, imperfection, trust, heartache, and acceptance. Universality aside,were these some of the central themes of your life while you werewriting the album?

The word "theme" kind of frightens me...I definitley did not write this album with any theme in mind. I named it Girls and Boys because all the songs were about relationships, some mine, some others, some made up. It kind of just ended up that way.

In the song "Die Alone" the premiss is that you've found someone who gives you hope for a future with someone. Have you truly had a struggle with the fear of dying alone, or is that song sung somewhat tongue-in-cheek to over-emphasize the point?

Of course I have had times where I felt that i would not have anyone to grow old with, but doesn't everyone?? I mean, it doesn't consume my days, but I have had moments where I thought my selfish ways would lead me to the life of lonliless, sure!

What thoughts do you have about your career after putting out 2 full albums?

This album (in my opinion) is much better, cleaner, it makes more sense. I feel that I am finally making music that is my own, not whatis expected of me. So I feel that i am starting over in a way. I feel alright about my...um...career. (I don't like that word) I thinkthe record is slowly gaining momentum.

What are some of your musical influences, and do you hear them coming out a bit in some of your songs?

Death Cab for Cutie, Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor to name a few. Yes, I hear aspects of their music in mine. I don't ever want to replicate, I just get inspired to push myself past my comfort zone...and that always makes for better music.

You've expressed a desire to get your album out there into people's hands. What does it mean to you to have someone listening to your music, half a world away, enjoying it?

Yeah!! Myspace (I had to bring it up) is so incredible!! People in Sweden are reviewing my cd!! weird...but so cool. Every time someone says they like my music, it's like the first time all over. It is really surreal to know that people, complete strangers, are listening my voice and words...and that they like it!!!

How accessable do you think your music is from a listener's standpoint?

Pretty accessable. My words are very straight forward and my melodies (I have been told) are "deceptively simple" and catchy...there are some songs where you will listen over and over and still not know what the hell it is about. if you listen to one of my songs once, you'll get it.

How do you describe your music to people when they ask you about it?

I think every one who plays music hates that question. Ummm, indie /pop...Fiona [Apple] meets Death Cab [For Cutie].

What does the song writing process look like for you?

I come up with the chords, then the melody, then the lyrics.usually, i finish a song in under and hour. then there are timeswhere i'll struggle and struggle with a chorus for days, and neverfinish it. the best songs are the ones that come tumbling out!

And now the obligatory interview question: Do you prefer playing live or writing?


How would you describe your voice as a songwriter?

Arg...again with the self describing??? Clear and soft, with a lot of control...all those years of classical training paid off.

Could you name a few musical acts that interest you today?

Well, the three I mentioned earlier, The Magnetic Fields, The Shins, Ben Folds, Bjork, Imogen Heap, Laura Viers, Nada Surf, Weezer.

You're currently (at the time of this interview) a finalist in The Mountain Stage Newsong Festival. How did you come to be involved in that? What else can you tell us about that contest?

Sonicbids baby! Whoever said you don't get gigs from sonicbids didn't know what they were talking about. I really don't know too much except that i get to play at the south street seaport here in NYC!!! woohoo!! Plus, my picture was in the daily news!

What is so beautiful, special, unique about the dynamic between Girls and Boys?

We will never understand eachother, and that is why we want each other so much. the constant struggle feeds us, at least me!!

What is your greatest aspiration as a musician?

To have a loyal fan base and be able to make music and make enough money that I never have to do anything besides music for the rest of my days. And to get my songs on Grey's Anatomy!!Seriously, I am obsessed.

In my experience, some of the people who create music tend to see themselves as primarily singers, musicians (instrumentalists), or songwriters, but rarely as all three. I'm not entirely sure why that is. Does that ring true for you, or do you consider yourself all three?

I think I am a singer/songwriter. i am a decent piano player and ok on the guitar, but I am most comfortable when I am simply singing.

If someone were to ask you to name something you would die for, whatwould be the first thing that came to mind?

At this point, i do not think there is anything I would die for, realistically speaking. I don't know though. You never know the answer to questions like that until you are really faced with a situation that demands an answer.

How do you get inspired to write? Do you seek inspiration? Does it come to you?

Most of the time, it is not my own experiences that inspire me, but other music and musicians. I don't really seek it out though.

You end your album, Girls and Boys, with an uplifting, carefree sounding song. I wonder, was that a conscious decision? How did you select your track order?

I liked that song ("Far Away") but it did not fit in with the rest of the songs, so i made it the hidden track, but not the "last track". The order just came to me...there was no real concious effort except thinking which song would flow into the next. I suppose if you listen to the words, one could draw some conclusion on why we ordered it like that...

What was different in your experience making your second album in comparison to making your first album?

A lot more time and effort was put in this time around. we all loved these songs so much, we wanted the very best for them!!

What plans for the future have you been able to make at this point?

To keep giging, do a college tour, get my music "out there"....just keep on plugging...what else can you do? the battle is half the fun anyway!


Posted by SL @ 1:42 AM