(Isn’t it strange how such a sad song can make me feel so much better? I don’t understand how that works but I love it.)
Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE music! I have done many entries on various music groups and songs that I love, but today I found myself turning back to one of my favorite artists, Ingrid Michaelson. In 2009 Anna and I saw Ingrid live and it was a fantastic experience. This is true despite the fact that it was in a tiny club, with no seating- a situation I normally despise. She was so warm, personable and her voice so wonderful that she won me over in spite of my circumstances. It is exactly how I would wish to sound if I could sing well. Her songs are just what I would want to write if I could translate the thoughts in my heart adequately.
The way that Ingrid came to fame is emblematic of the major changes that have occurred in the music industry in recent years. With the near-death of album sales to the mp3 world of Itunes, there are basically two ways an artist can become well-known:
1. He or she can get their music featured on itunes or amazon.com. Usually this is after developing an internet following and being picked up by a major label. Three examples of this that come to mind are Jack Johnson, Colbie Caillat and Priscilla Ahn. All were popular on myspace or youtube and then featured as ‘free singles’ by Itunes.
2. The second way is to be featured on a television show such as American Idol or the Voice, or to have your music used within a popular show, movie or advertisement. The examples of this range from the Fray being discovered as the theme song to Grays Anatomy, to Regina Spektor headlining a target ad, to Cold Play (and a million other artists) getting a start in an apple ad.
Ingrid Michaelson is no stranger to such promotion her songs have been all over shows like Greys Anatomy, One Tree Hill, Drop Dead Diva, and ads for Motts Apple juice and Old Navy. You think the musical purist in me would have a problem with such a commercial thinning of my favorite most beautiful music but I don’t. I think music has always been a commercial endeavor simply because of a need on the part of the artist to survive- and hopefully thrive! In some ways the commercial potential opens the doors to artists that could never have seen the album covers in the old days of dusty bars and agents.
This song was on a Greys Anatomy show but I still LOVE IT!
By placing her music where people are actually going to hear it, Ingrid not only entertains a wider swath of people and creates new fans, but she educates and widens their musical palate. Even as a big fan, there have been times when I’ve heard a song on a show, and then realized it was on an Ingrid album I’d listened to a 100 times and never noticed it before. I think it is great that people will hear a new song and think of the artistic director’s interpretation first, and then hopefully by listen 20 or 30, they have come up with their own views. Ingrid’s songs have such depth to allow for such diverse interpretations.
Even her largest hit Be Ok has undertones of sadness if you listen to the lyrics and set aside the peppy melody. One of the verses says:
“Open me up and you will see
I’m a gallery of broken hearts
I’m beyond repair, let me be
And give me back my broken parts”
I don’t know how many times I listened to that seemingly happy song before I realized there was another layer. To me, such realizations are the beauty of art and music. Its what makes a painting profound every time you look at it, or a song touching each time you sing it- there is no end to the layers of thought and introspection beautiful things can provide.
What would it be like to write a line, a verse, a song, with that kind of power? I marvel with envy at those with such talents. When I was in college I had to write a poem for a class and it was rough going. It took me almost 2 weeks to write a pathetic little couplet. I think I was born to appreciate others gifts and Ingrid certainly fills me with such gratitude.
Not only does she write the words so achingly and beautifully well but she sings them perfectly also. It inspires me in many ways. All beauty inspires me. After all, as a mantra of my faith I seek after anything “virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy”.
Anyway, I love Ingrid Michaelson. Its tough to say who I love better Ingrid Michaelson or Sara Barrielles? They are both fabulous! Here are some of my favorite of her songs. Go- check them both out and have even your sick days made lighter by beautiful music. 🙂
This is one of my current favorite Ingrid songs
I’ve never heard a version of this song I haven’t loved. I have 13 different versions on my ipod!