Ingrid Michaelson Talks TV, Role Modelling And Performing For Obama
Written by David Claridad on 21st July, 2014
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If you’re a music supervisor on a melodramatic TV series, you should be familiar with the work of Ingrid Michaelson. Her music and its ability to evoke emotion during heartbreaking scenes in shows like Grey’s Anatomy and One Tree Hill is second to none.
Sometimes it doesn’t quite go as planned, but that doesn’t affect her craft. “I don’t write music to be put on TV or film, so that doesn’t define my songs, it doesn’t change the meaning of them,” she says. She’s far from a one-trick pony whose only claim to fame is soundtracking emotional TV moments.
Her latest album, Lights Out, debuted at #5 on the US Billboard chart back in April. Following a year of lows in 2013, she found the ability to pick herself back up for this new album. “When you’ve gone through some difficult [times] and you’re affected and changed as a person, [you] want to do things differently,” she explains.
Watch: Ingrid Michaelson – Girls Chase Boys
The lead single, Girls Chase Boys, inadvertently pushes boundaries. Acting on advice from a friend, she made key changes to the track’s chorus — “Girls chase boys chase girls chase girls chase boys chase boys chase girls” — to make the song more inclusive. The accompanying clip is a parody of the oft-imitated video work of Robert Palmer, but pushes things a step further to challenge gender roles.
In regards to her music her career, Michaelson says she doesn’t view herself first and foremost as a role model for other women, despite having many young female fans. “I literally just live my life the way I live my life,” she says. “For whatever reason, parents seem to like that for their girls.”
It’s that professional mentality that saw her perform in front of US President Barack Obama in 2010 beside pal Sara Bareilles. Forget fighting the winter chills and trying to look “cute” for television, she just tried to remember where she was. “I looked down and I saw Obama and the First Lady… and I’m like, ‘I’m going to make the most of my moment’, so then I just stared at the President.”
Listen: Ingrid Michaelson feat A Great Big World – Over You
His reaction? “He was very intently looking back and I made eye contact. Afterwards, they let us take photographs with them and that was a crazy moment that I got to actually meet the President because of my music. That was one of the highlights of my musical career.”
Though unable to bring the President with her for the string of Australian tour dates she has slated for September, Michaelson has her sights set on climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge instead. “This’ll be my third time [to Australia]… so, hopefully, maybe this time I’ll do it.”