“I feel like I know her,” someone next to me said as Ingrid Michaelson continued talking on stage, inciting uproarious laughter in the crowd.
I do know her. She’s me. She’s you. She’s us. That is one of the biggest appeals about Ingrid- in spite of becoming a huge star over the past few years with hits like “The Way I Am” and “Girls Chase Boys,” she just seems like a girl you’d want to chill with. No pretense, no division between artist and fan. She’s a friend.
Last night, her album release party at the Troubadour was packed wall-to-wall and buzzing with anticipation. Fans around me compared their numbers- you know, how many times they’ve seen Ingrid.
“She’s incredible,” one fan gushed to another.
That fan was 100 percent correct. It’s been 8 years since I’ve seen Ingrid on the Hotel Cafe Tour in 2008, and I remember truly being moved then by her songwriting and transcendent presence. I’ve told people for years to go see her if they get the chance all from that one performance. After last night, I am officially on the Ingrid Cheerleading Squad (if there was such a thing- and I'm not talking #SquadGoals, though she totally would be).
The new album, It Doesn't Have to Make Sense, is the perfect marriage between the pop sensibilities that have garnered her attention and her songwriting that makes her so much bigger than the genre.
“Hell No,” the lead single off the record, is a pure hit, with the crowd singing it back passionately and excitedly. “Light Me Up” was my favorite live tune, with “Celebrate” as a close favorite. “Celebrate” was more than just the title- it created an atmosphere of celebration in the room.
On stage, Ingrid is part-comedian, total artist. She is engaging and incredibly funny with a dose of realness that feels rare in spite of the push for authenticity in light of social media. Talking about everything from her esophagus that works at 50% to wishing she were in sweat pants, sports bra and Toms instead of her "tight skort situation," she kept everyone smiling and laughing in between songs. The crowd also learned not to steal her watermelon while on tour, a mistake her bandmate made "only once."
Oh and Jimmy Clark, you really should message her back on Instagram.
She's a true artist in every sense of the word, painting pictures vocally. Her runs are not to impress, although they do. They are a means of expression to her lyrics, as it should be, and the control she possesses over her instrument is awe-inspiring.
The highlight of the show came in the encore, when Ingrid asked if the crowd wanted to hear a “really, really sad” tune off the new record or a happy cover. Naturally, the crowd opted for both, so she kicked it off with “I Remember Her,” a song about her mother’s death in 2014.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. And that’s not an exaggeration.
Men and women alike (including me) wiped tears away quickly. It is the most beautiful, poignant song I’ve heard in a long time, and whether you’ve lost your mom, grandmother, or the woman most important to you or you worry about the day you will, this song hits home. And by home, I mean directly in your heart.