With her new album called “It Doesn’t Have to Make Sense,” which has been out since August 26th, the Staten Island-born Ingrid Michaelson recently made a stop during her “Hell No” tour at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles for two sold-out nights on October 26th and 27th.
The historic theatre, which was built in 1927 and features jaw-dropping Spanish-Gothic architecture, made for a splendid setting for Michaelson, who now has seven albums to her credit, and a devoted fan base spanning all ages.
Evidently, what separates Michaelson from her contemporaries in the modern music realm is the fact that she comes across as an accessible everywoman who is more down to earth than larger than life. Like all of us, she can be self-conscious, even remarking that she has a tendency to look up actresses from decades past to find out how old they were during their heyday.
“I looked up the mom (Catherine O’Hara) from “Home Alone,” Michaelson jocularly laments between songs. “Do you know how old she was? She was 36, my age.”
Michaelson’s self-aware humor not only touches on her age, but her first awkward kiss with a boy named Jimmy Clark as referenced in “Celebrate;” the much-debated “I’d buy you Rogaine” line in her song, “The Way I Am,” for which she offers an uproarious explanation; and even the copious amounts of tape holding her unusually taut outfit together, prompting her to quip, “I’m going to make sure my next tour is called the ‘Pajama Tour.’”
As such, Michaelson’s soul-baring confessions seem extemporaneous, true, and draw more “we’re with you” laughter than a comedy show, not to mention adoration from individuals who can identify with someone who is real, as opposed to one who is a glorified image-managed brand.
Musically, Michaelson is pitch-perfect, beautifully balancing the demarcation between pop and indie, appealing with both catchy tunes and substantive lyrics. Her soaring single, “Hell No,” is about letting go and not looking back – a challenge Michaelson had to accept following much of the tragedy that has befallen her in the last few years.
Moreover, demonstrating her talent as a multi-instrumentalist, Michaelson plays the keyboard and the ukulele – the latter on songs such as “Be OK,” “The Lotto” (a collaboration with her opening act, AJR, comprised of three brothers from New York), and most impressively, on a Radiohead cover of “Creep,” where she fills the renowned words with a fresh sweetness.
In a pleasant surprise unique to the October 27th show was the attendance of Dan Romer, who produced Michaelson’s “Everybody” album in 2009, and provided extra vocals on “You and I.” He was spontaneously called up to the stage by Michaelson to once again duet with her on the track in a turn of events that wasn’t planned – per Michaelson’s admission – as it did not flow seamlessly throughout. Nevertheless, it spoke to the star’s demure nature as someone who isn’t afraid to make mistakes even if she cannot uncover the hindsight rationale in them.
Perhaps that is why the half-Swedish, half-Norwegian singer-songwriter titled her current album, “It Doesn’t Have to Make Sense.”
“A lot has happened to me over the last couple of years,” reflects Michaelson. “I was hard on myself trying to find meaning in it all, but then realized that the best way to move along is to know that it doesn’t have to make any sense.”
Ultimately, Michaelson is a person who has decided to not take life too seriously and be silly sometimes – which is perfectly appropriate for the musician who just wants to sashay and sign off with Right Said Fred’s “I’m too Sexy.”
For more information, please visit ingridmichaelson.com