Interview with Ingrid Michaelson
Ingrid Michaelson is currently out on the road for A Summer Night Out Tour - her biggest tour yet - and we are so excited to partner with her to celebrate the summer shenanigans. Not only is she offering a free download of A Summer Night Out Tour Sampler, but we also did an interview with her to chat about the scope of these outdoor shows, her hilarious star-studded music video for “Time Machine,” and her own memories of outdoor shows as an audience member.
NoiseTrade: Many of the stops on your “A Summer Night Out” tour will be outdoor venues. For these outdoor concerts, do you have to change up your show in any way or do you have to be mindful of anything that’s not an issue during your normal indoor shows?
Ingrid Michaelson: Yeah, we’ve actually changed up the show a lot due to the scope of these venues and the size of them. For example, this is the first time we’re traveling around with a lighting rig and a stage set that has to be built and broken down every day. The shows themselves are just going to be amped up. In terms of being outside, it does just make things feel so much bigger. There’s no ceiling and there’s no walls, so we’ve just been focusing on making the show bigger and making it more of an event. The smaller, intimate things can get swallowed up in outdoor venues, so overall we’re just trying to step it up and have a party at every venue.
NT: That makes sense. Does that mean you’ll be changing up the arrangements for any of your songs or are there any new covers that you’ll be unveiling for the first time at these shows?
Michaelson: Yes! We’re actually doing a lot of older songs in newer arrangements. We’re also doing some surprise covers and I’ve got some special guests showing up along the way. It’s going to be different from any other show we’ve had so far. It’s going to be really fun and I’m excited!
NT: Two of the concerts - a co-headlining show with Ben Folds at Red Rocks on June 21 and Central Park on June 29 – seem like they’re going to pretty memorable gigs. Are either one of these “firsts” for you?
Michaelson: I actually played Central Park last year. That was my first time there. It was a beautiful night, the weather was perfect, it was sold out, and it was the kind of show that I wish I could just do over and over and over again. So, I’m praying for great weather again and I’m really excited about going back. New York is my home and there’s nothing like playing a sold out show in your home town.
I’ve played Red Rocks before but I’ve never gotten to share the stage with Ben Folds. For that show, we’re playing with the Colorado Symphony, which is going to be incredible! I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet, you know? The venue itself is so amazing and then getting to play with someone that I idolized growing up and then also getting to play a symphony… I think that’s going to be a highlight, not just of this tour, but of my entire musical career.
NT: Have you guys planned out what you’re going to do yet? Will it be two different sets or will you be playing a bunch of song together?
Michaelson: We’re doing two different sets but I’m hoping we’re going to get to do some stuff together. We haven’t really figured it out yet. I know so many of his songs that I may just invite myself on stage for his set (laughs).
NT: That works! Since one of the tracks on your NoiseTrade sampler is “Time Machine”, I have to ask you about your music video for it. Where did the concept come from and how did you go about getting all of those actors and comedians to play along (Rainn Wilson, Matt Jones, Jorge Garcia, Rob Delaney, Steve Agee, Brian Baumgartner, Dave Koechner, Garrett Dillahunt and Donald Faison)?
Michaelson: I came up with the idea – funny, goofy guys upstaging me at every turn in all these different scenarios – and I got the idea to Rainn Wilson whose production company (Soul Pancake) produced the video. Rainn got some people and I asked a couple people. I think it’s such a fun idea and it was just a couple of hours of work and then you’re done. We did it two days and it was such a fun shoot.
NT: Yeah, you looked like you were having just a little bit of fun doing it. Do you like doing music videos or are they a necessary evil of the job?
Michaelson: I think some can be a necessary evil. It depends on how you’re doing them. I’m having fun with them because they’re my ideas, they’re from my brain. To actually think of something and then have it come to fruition is awesome.
NT: Between the “Time Machine” video and your most recent hilarious appearance on the Nerdist podcast, I’m sensing you have a comedic side that’s trying to bust out. Are you thinking of doing any stand-up or anything like that on the new tour?
Michaelson: (Laughs) I don’t think I’ll ever do stand-up because that just takes such balls to do. I don’t even know how people do that. I do like making people laugh when I’m on stage. That’s a fun part of the show for me.
Actually, my manager and I have been focusing more on the idea of getting involved in some sort of comedic endeavor – podcasting, acting, whatever. It’s hard because with my music I have a very specific schedule but it’s definitely something that I enjoy doing. I do want to push it further though and try to find the right fit for my voice in that area.
NT: Final question here... Do you have any memories of outdoor concerts that you went to as a kid or teenager from a fan’s perspective?
Michaelson: Oh yeah! My first concert that I ever went to was at this big outdoor venue in New Jersey. I went to see the band Live. I was in sixth grade and I had never been to a concert before, let alone one so big. I had been to classical recitals and things like that, but I had never seen a rock concert, outside, with 20,000 other people. Before that, I knew I had wanted to be in theater and be on stage but I never considered even being a musician until I was in college. So, it’s not like I sat there and thought “Wow, this is something I really want to do.” But I do remember being so mesmerized and thinking it was so cool.