Ingrid Michaelson Interview: Stranger Things, Writing and Nostalgia

We speak to Ingrid Michaelson about her new album Stranger Songs, influences from pop culture, and her love for nostalgia.

Clearly, on a creative wave fuelled by the (not so) idiot box, Ingrid Michaelson is a name that should be coming to the forefront for all of us. Hot on the release of her recent album Stranger Songs, a record that beautifully encapsulates the tales and relationships of the Netflix hit Stranger Things, we speak to Ingrid to find out a bit more about the artist behind the songs.


Your latest album is strongly influenced by Stranger Things. Have you previously been inspired by TV Shows or Movies prior to this project?

I haven’t! It does kind of seem like it’s coming out of nowhere but, when you think about it, there’s a definite indication that this was coming. I’m also working on a musical adaptation of The Notebook, which I’ve been working on for three years now, so maybe writing from the point of view of a character is just in my bones now!  So this has now transferred into my pop world.


Out of all the binge-worthy series available on services such as Netflix, why did Stranger Things affect you enough to influence an entire album?

I’m a very nostalgic person. I lost both my parents and I miss them terribly. I often look back and think of my childhood and miss it dearly. So, this show taking place in the 80s when I was a kid has really affected me. 


Stranger Songs was written and recorded in three distinctively unique locations – Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Nashville – how did each location affect the album creatively?

LA is very pop. Or at least the writers I worked with in LA were Pop writers, so those songs tended to be very pop. Whereas, the songs I wrote in Nashville were more heady.


What is the difference in writing Stranger Songs, compared to composing music for the stage adaptation of The Notebook?

This goes back to the other answer, as I’ve realised there is definitely a connection between the two, but there’s more of my own emotional baggage in Stranger Songs. 


Is there a sense of freedom writing as a character instead of as yourself?

Yes and no. Yes because you can hide behind a character. No, because you have parameters on what the character would say and do.


Stranger Things shows that there is a longing for nostalgia, do you think this is the reason for the rise in vinyl sales? Are you a fan of the format?

Everything comes back. People are buying cassette tapes now! What’s old is new and that’s not even a new thing to say. So I think it’s natural that vinyl is coming back. How many people actually listen to vinyl is the real question? How many people just have it on their shelf as a prop?  


What song are you most looking forward to performing live?

I love singing Pretty. It’s a great, empowering song. It sits well in my voice and I feel very strong when I’m singing it. 


Are there any plans to tour the UK anytime soon?

I’m coming to London in November – I’m playing the Union Chapel on the 12th November. It’s the first time I’ve played in London in 7 years and I can’t wait.


Tickets for Ingrid’s show at the Union Chapel, the only European show of the tour, can be found here.

By Harrison Screen

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