Ingrid Michaelson Weaves Real-Life Trauma Into Her 'Stranger Songs' Concept Record

'Up Close and Personal' with Ingrid Michaelson

August 23, 2019

By Joe Cingrana

It was a gorgeous night out on the waters surrounding New York City on August 20th as we were joined by singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson along with some of her biggest fans.

Our latest 'Up Close and Personal' series with NEW 102.7's Christine Richie was special, this time aboard a sunset NYC cruise with Circle Line NYC. Before Ingrid performed a set of favorites and new tracks from her latest offering 'Stranger Songs,' she sat down (and then had to steady herself by standing, the water was a little choppy at times!) to discuss her inspiration for the album, and nerd out a little over the hit Netflix series Stranger Things.

(There may be spoilers here if you haven't seen the series, so beware.)

Ingrid Michaelson Performs Aboard the Circle Line Staten Island for NEW 102.7 'Up Close & Personal'
(Photo: Joe Cingrana/WNEW)

MORE PHOTOS: Ingrid Michaelson Performs Aboard the Circle Line Staten Island

Michaelson, a native Staten Islander and now a full-on Brooklynite, released her latest album, 'Stranger Songs,' earlier this summer and says the reason behind the concept album came from her need to refresh her songwriting style and keep things interesting.

"I just love the show so much," Ingrid admits. "You know how every once in a while you find a TV show and you get so, so obsessed with it? That was 'Stranger Things' for me. It just made me feel nostalgic and miss the '80s."

It all started with a poem she wrote based on the messages in Christmas lights featured in the show, which led her to take that idea and run with it. 

"If I'm writing a poem, maybe I could write a song. And then, if I could write a song maybe I could make an EP... and then I thought, 'well if I'm going to make an EP it has to have 11 songs because of her (Millie Bobby Brown's character Eleven's) name' -- and then that's a full-on record. It just kind of crept up on me."

Ingrid Michaelson Performs Aboard the Circle Line Staten Island for NEW 102.7 'Up Close & Personal'
(Photo: Joe Cingrana/WNEW)

MORE PHOTOS: Ingrid Michaelson Performs Aboard the Circle Line Staten Island

Ingrid previously said she had a set of "rules" going into the recording process for 'Stranger Songs.' Aside from the one where there HAD TO BE 11 songs, she says she and her writers tried to stay true to the character identities in the series, being aware whether or not a character would say the words they were putting to lyrics.

"My goal was to write songs that were show specific but also totally stand alone on their own," she says. "If you really know the show then you'll get all the little easter eggs." 

Ingrid Michaelson Performs Aboard the Circle Line Staten Island for NEW 102.7 'Up Close & Personal'
(Photo: Joe Cingrana/WNEW)

MORE PHOTOS: Ingrid Michaelson Performs Aboard the Circle Line Staten Island

After giving the album a listen, Christine says she was able to figure out a lot of the special references but also noticed that the tracks were very personal and dealt with Ingrid's real-life love and loss, as well as her television obsession.

"I've lost my mom, I've lost my dad, I've gone through a lot of traumatic things -- so inevitably you're writing from the point of view of a character but you're also writing from your own experiences. So, a lot of the songs definitely have my own experiences completely interwoven into them... So it's like a double-edged sword for sure.”

Ingrid Michaelson's 'Stranger Songs' is available now. Watch the full interview with Ingrid above.

If you were aboard the Circle Line with us, download your photos with Ingrid below. Thank you to everyone who came out to party with us and we hope to see you at our next 'Up Close & Personal' -- Follow @NEW1027 on Twitter to get notifications!

Ingrid Michaelson Meets Fans at NEW 102.7's 'Up Close & Personal'
(Photo: Joe Cingrana/WNEW)

PHOTOS: Ingrid Meets Fans Aboard the Circle Line Staten Island