Ingrid Michaelson on touring and writing

SYS had a chat with the very lovely Ingrid Michaelson in the midst of a busy touring schedule: 

Hi Ingrid. You are touring the States at the moment. What do you enjoy most about touring and what are the aspects you could you do without?  I love performing when the crowd is in it with me. There is nothing like that feeling of “we are all in this together.” Thing I could do without? I am a homebody and love my bed, family, dog etc. So being on the road can drain me at times.

You played in the UK recently. Any plans for a full tour there soon?  We have soft plans to come back in nov but nothing booked as of yet.

So you are returning to Australia soon. Do you have endearing memories of your previous trip there?  The main thing I remember from my last tour in Australia was how kind and receptive the audience was. I did not know what to expect, so I was nervous. But everyone was so friendly and made me feel very at ease on stage.

Do you have favourite places to tour? Are the audiences markedly different in each country?  Honestly, I loved Australia for the reason stated above. And yes, different countries respond differently. I think the language barrier is not there in Australia so it allows for me to have an open dialogue with the audiences which is what I absolutely love.

Your new album seems a little more sonically expansive than your previous albums. Was that a conscious decision or did it just grow organically? Conscious. I wanted to open up vocally which in turn opened my brain up lyrically and melodically. I wanted to swing from the rafters on this one.

Tell me a little about your songwriting process. How do your songs come to you? Does, for instance, a melody/lyric pop into your head while your doing your groceries or do you sit down very focused and say, right, “I’m going to write a song about this now”? I don’t have an answer because I don’t have a process that is constant. Sometimes i sit down with a lyrical idea in my head. Sometimes it is melodic. Sometimes I just sit at the piano and play until something sticks. Sometimes I write a poem and turn that into a song. There is no real “process” for me.

So without a constant formula for writing songs, was there anything that brought you particular inspiration when you were working on your latest album? Anything you were listening to, reading, experiencing?  I was married last year and I think when you make a commitment like that, It shifts you and shifts your perspective on life. I will always feel like a child inside but I do think I have grown up a lot since my last record.

Your video for Blood Brothers is amazing. Was a gruelling experience?  No it was actually fun! It was my idea so I can’t really complain. As soon as each character was created, we would all “ooh” and “ahh” and take photos. The whole day/night was broken up because every hour or so there was a new “person” to marvel at. The makeup artist did such an incredible job.

How did you dream up the idea?  It had been rolling around in my head for a while.

Finally, tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you…  I love bad scary movies.

You can find Ingrid’s tour dates at her website.


Interview by Bobby Townsend