Ingrid Michaelson does songs about love like no other. For years, the NYC-native singer/songwriter has been the go-to indie pop artist for moments of heartbreak, loving being in love, and navigating everything in between.
She's best known by fans for her unique musical styling—articulate and honest, sometimes playful, and always powerful—for her quirky humor, for finding joy in trying times, for intensifying important scenes on shows like Grey's Anatomy, and (to those of us who have seen her in concert multiple times) for delivering live performances, full of personality, that will blow you away.
Lately, Ingrid has gained recognition in a new realm, as an LGBT ally. Her newest song "Girls Chase Boys" has been recognized by BuzzFeed, Upworthy, The Huffington Post, and beyond for bending the gender binary as well as for recognizing same-sex relationships in an inclusive lyric. In a statement about the song, Ingrid said, “More than just being about my experience, its focus shifted to include the idea that, no matter who or how we love, we are all the same. The video takes that idea one step further and attempts to turn stereotypical gender roles on their head. Girls don't exclusively chase boys, we all know this. We all chase each other and in the end we are all chasing after the same thing: love.”
GLAAD got an exclusive interview with Ingrid about using music to be an ally and where her art is headed with her upcoming album, Lights Out. Check it out below:
GLAAD: Your latest single "Girls Chase Boys" has been getting a lot of buzz for challenging the way society pigeonholes relationships. What inspired you to write about how love is "all the same" for everyone?
Ingrid Michaelson: I was in Nashville writing with Trent Dabbs and Barry Dean and this song just kind of came out of nowhere. It was initially about a breakup. And moving on. And realizing that we all go through the same heartbreak and at the end you will survive. I listened to the demo over and over and the line "Girls Chase Boys" started to feel very exclusive. Adding "girls chase girls and boys chase boys" instantly opened the song up. I know there are people who don't identify as a "girl" or a "boy" and I hope they don't feel ostracized.
GLAAD: You mentioned how the song also includes a line about how "girls chase girls chase boys chase boys" too. Do you consider yourself an LGBT ally?
IM: Of course. I grew up in a household that was very accepting of all people. So I have always been.
GLAAD: There have been a wide range of responses to your song, and recently you posted and responded to a couple of them on Facebook. One of your comment said "Girls Chase Boys" is really about "the human experience." What made you decide to read and respond to comments on this song?
IM: This song has taken on such a deeper meaning for me and I really feel the need to defend it against people who have negative words to say. So that's why I have been reading the comments. It is also great to see a comment that is positive because this world needs more open mindedness. And positive comments make me feel that the world is opening up. So that feels good for my soul, to read those.
GLAAD: Someone you've collaborated with in the past and whom you've called your friend, Sara Bareilles, also wrote a pro-LGBT song, called "Brave," which also received a lot of attention. Do you think music can help bring about social change?
IM: One can only hope!
GLAAD: Your latest album, Lights Out, is set for release on April 15, and tickets for your new tour just recently went on sale. What can your fans expect to hear on the new album?
IM: I wrote with lots of different writers and worked with different producers. I think that collaborative energy is all over the record. And there is a diversity of sound on the record too consequently. I have never made a record like this before and I truly feel it is the best one yet. Maybe because it isn't just me behind it. Being open to change was the best decision for me because I came out with a well-rounded record. I hope people accept it!
Watch and listen: