Ingrid Ellen Michaelson (born December 8, 1979) is an American singer-songwriter and actress. Her first album, Slow the Rain, was released in 2005, and she has since released eight more albums: Girls and Boys, Be OK, Everybody, Human Again, Lights Out, It Doesn't Have to Make Sense, Songs for the Season, and her most recent, Stranger Songs. Her two highest-charting singles are "The Way I Am" (2007) and "Girls Chase Boys" (2014), at #37 and #52 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively.
Michaelson is half Swedish and was born in 1979 in New York City to artistic parents. Her father, Carl Michaelson, was a manager of copyrights for the publishing company Carl Fischer Music and a composer on the side ("The Praise of Christmas"). Her mother, Elizabeth Egbert, was a sculptor, of Dutch ancestry. As a child, Michaelson performed in a musical theatre group called Staten Island Kids On Stage. She took up piano at age 4, and trained until age seven at Manhattan's Third Street Music School, continuing for many more years at the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island's Dorothy Delson Kuhn Music Institute. While there she met vocal coach Elizabeth McCullough, who worked with her through high school. Michaelson is a graduate of Staten Island Technical High School and Binghamton University, where she received a degree in theater. While at Binghamton University, she was a member of the Binghamtonics, a co-ed a cappella group, as well as the Pappy Parker Players, an improv comedy group, and the theatre repertory company under Sue Peters. Her time at Binghamton is mentioned in her song "The Hat."
2006–08: Girls and Boys
In 2006, Michaelson independently released her second album, Girls and Boys. The album, like her previous music, was streamed on Myspace. A music producer from the ABC drama Grey's Anatomy found her music online. After being contacted by the music producer, Michaelson began to be approached by several record companies. Wanting to retain all of the rights she had as an independent artist, Michaelson developed a deal with Original Signal Recordings, acting as the marketing and distribution arm for Michaelson's label. Through Original Signal, Michaelson re-released Girls and Boys into mainstream marketing on September 18, 2007. It peaked at #63 on the Billboard charts and received positive reviews from critics. Additionally, in 2007, "The Way I Am", a song from the album, was featured in an Old Navy commercial. The 30-second ad played on the major US networks and most prime-time shows for a few days. In less than 3 weeks, more than 65 appearances in prime-time had been made, including 17 season premieres.
2008–10: Be OK and Everybody
In 2008, Michaelson released her third album, and first compilation album, Be OK. The album debuted at #35 on the Billboard charts and received mixed to positive reviews. The album features the single "Be OK", which received a large amount of exposure on several shows and commercials. Michaelson joined the Hotel Cafe Tour that fall in support of the album, whose proceeds went toward cancer research. In 2009, Michaelson released her fourth album, Everybody. Everybody debuted on #18 on the Billboard charts and received positive reviews. It features the single "Maybe", which received positive reviews and was featured on several television programs. Her show in Sydney, Australia, at the Metro Theater is available online at MoshCam, a website that shows pre-recorded concerts.
2010–12: Parachute and Human Again
In 2010, Michaelson digitally released the single "Parachute", a song that she wrote but was recorded by Cheryl Cole on Cole's album 3 Words. The song has not been featured on any albums, but is available on both iTunes and Amazon. In 2012, Michaelson released her fifth album, Human Again. Human Again debuted at #5 on the Billboard charts and received very positive reviews, with critics praising the album's unique sound. Michaelson's first tour leg for the album, The Human Again Tour, was sold out almost every night of the tour. After the first tour, Michaelson continued to tour on 3 other legs, two in North America, and one across the world. The first leg of Michaelson's tour was held from April to May. The second leg, The Human Again Summer Tour, was held from June to August. The Third Leg, The Human Again Fall Tour, began in September. Michaelson also played 3 shows in Australia, where Human Again was the first formally released record of hers.
In September 2012, she was featured in a campaign called "30 Songs / 30 Days" to support Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, a multi-platform media project inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's book.
2014–2015: Lights Out
On February 4, 2014, Michaelson released the lead single, "Girls Chase Boys", from her album Lights Out. The song reached #52 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Afterlife" and "Time Machine" were released as the second and third singles with moderate commercial success.
On April 25, 2014, Lights Out was released. The deluxe edition, which was released in November later that year, contains an additional six bonus tracks.
2016–2017: It Doesn't Have To Make Sense and Alter Egos
On April 29, 2016, Michaelson released the song "Hell No". It serves as the lead single from her seventh studio album, It Doesn't Have to Make Sense, which was released on August 26, 2016, through Cabin 24 Records. In July she released a second video of "Hell No," which incorporates members of the Deaf West theater company performing the lyrics in American Sign Language. In support of the album, Michaelson embarked on the "Hell No Tour" beginning October 6, 2016, in Cincinnati, OH.
On 12 May 2017, a 5-track EP titled Alter Egos was released. It consists of re-worked songs from It Doesn't Have to Make Sense with guest vocalists on each track.
In 2017, Michaelson contributed "Smallest Light" and "Stay Right Where You Are" to the soundtrack for the film The Space Between Us.
2018–present: Ingrid Michaelson's Songs for the Season and Stranger Songs
On 26 October 2018, Michaelson released a Christmas album called Ingrid Michaelson's Songs for the Season. In January 2019, Michaelson announced she was composing the score for a musical adaptation of The Notebook. On May 10, 2019, she released "Missing You", which serves as the lead single off of her ninth studio album, Stranger Songs. Michaelson first announced the album via her Twitter in January 2018, writing that it would be inspired by the Netflix series Stranger Things. The album was released on June 28, 2019.
In July 2020, Michaelson was nominated for her first Emmy Award in the Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics category for the song "Build it Up", written specifically for the finale of Hulu's hit miniseries Little Fires Everywhere.