Over the holidays, when Jon Solomon spoke with Ingrid Michaelson, she said she was looking forward to finally getting some rest. The singer has been caught up in whirlwind of activity ever since her song “Breakable” was used on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Three more of her songs were used on the show, including endearing “The Way I Am,” which as also used in an Old Navy commercial. Below (or after the jump), Michaelson talks about her new found-fame and about giving up theater for music.
Westword (Jon Solomon):How have things been going with your new-found fame?
Ingrid Michaelson: Oh, fame, I don’t think I’ve found it yet. I’m never home any more. Always traveling. It’s pretty cool; you get to go to different cites, meet different people, and connect with different fans. It’s pretty neat. I’m just very busy. I’ve never been so busy before. I always thought I was busy in the past -- in my old life -- but I see what I’m doing now, and I have to remind yourself to just breathe every once in a while.
You started playing piano when you four, but when did you starting writing your own material?
I started writing songs about five years ago. I went to school for theater. I was going to be an actress, and somewhere along the way, I just kind of switched gears. I felt more comfortable writing my own stuff.
What made you switch gears and start writing songs?
In theater, a lot of times you’re waiting around for the right role of the right part for you, and I felt like I wanted to carve out my own path and my own destiny, I guess you could say, and be more in control of the situation. I just turned to writing music and just sort of organically took that shift, and I found that I enjoyed it more. I felt like it suited me better. It was what I meant to do. I just kept doing it.
How was it for you when you first started playing around New York?
I was really wasn’t trying that hard. Playing once or twice a month. I was always writing and recording stuff. I kind of was like, "Well, if it happens, it happens." Most likely, it won’t happen, so I won’t put too much effort into it. That was the way I felt most of the time. Then last year, I started getting a little bit like, "Well, maybe I should." I was writing better music and happier with the music I was writing. And it’s like, “Oh I should really try to push for this," and I started to get a little more proactive. And nothing really took until last November when I got the first Grey’s Anatomy placement. That’s when everything started, and I got my foot in the door. And that opportunity allowed me to press on.
-- Jon Solomon