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Ingrid Michaelson in Royal Oak, 5 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Saturday, December 8, 2018

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Ingrid Michaelson is taking this "Songs for the Season" stuff seriously.

The singer-songwriter-actress isn't just celebrating the holiday with her album of the same name; She's mounted a Christmas-themed tour, with fellow vocalists Allie Moss and Hannah Winkler on board for some Andrews Sisters-like harmonizing and holiday revelry. You could say it's a respite of sorts from Michaelson's "normal" creative endeavors -- which include eight albums since 2005 -- but she's put as much effort into this project as anything else she's done.

And, Michaelson says, there's nothing like hard work to make the holidays a little happier...

Michaelson, 39, says that her creative goal for "Songs for the Season "was to have it be a very vintage vibe. I wanted it to meld seamlessly with things like Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, Rosemary Clooney. I wanted it to feel like it came from that era. I didn't want to do a 'contemporary' record at all."

"Songs of the Season" does feature one Michaelson original, "Happy Happy Christmas, which she wrote two years ago about her first holiday season following the death of her mother during the summer of 2014. "It's about how something changes. For me, the holidays were always joyous, but as I've gotten older and gone through a divorce and the death of two parents and the sicknesses of my parents before that...it's been tainted a little bit. It stopped being carefree and nothing to worry about and my parents always there. The older you get, the more you realize that's not a forever thing. I wanted to acknowledge that it is a really hard time for a lot of people, for many reasons. But the crux of the song is about not giving up and accepting these sadnesses and the dark part of life but also finding your joy and holding onto that as tightly as you can."

The "Songs for the Season" concert is "really special" for Michaelson, allowing her to present a different kind of show than she's done before. "Allie has been with me forever and Hannah's a brand new member, and we're doing a lot of Andrews Sisters, super-tight harmonies, which I'm obsessed with. We've pulled a lot of those nostalgic influences into the choreography -- I used that term lightly -- and even down to the lipstick color, hair and clothing. Everything is a gentle nod to the 50s. It's just this really special, sweet evening. It's much more stripped-down and intimate, which is what I think a lot of people are looking for at this time of year."

Michaelson is already working on her next album, which will be comprised of songs inspired by the Netflix science-fiction series "Stranger Things." "When I watch 'Stranger Things' it remind me of being little. Those boys are all in my brother's age range, and I have this weird obsession with the way it makes me feel and this warm desire to travel back in time -- but also this sad realization I could never travel back in time. So I decided I was going to write a record all about the show, from the point of view of the characters and how the show ignited these feelings in me and put it out next year, probably in the summertime. It's not sanctioned by Netflix but they have given us the go-ahead and are very cool about everything."

In the wake of her Broadway debut last year in "Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812," Michaelson is writing a stage musical of her own. "I can't tell you what it is yet, but I'm in talks with a director and I'm very excited, very deep in the process. It's really interesting exploring that part of the world and writing and possibly being in something again. That's a very attractive thing to me -- I can be in one place and don't have to travel too much and get to sleep in my own bed."

Ingrid Michaelson performs, with Jenna Nicholls opening, on Sunday, Dec. 9, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre. $59.50-$69.50. 248-399-2980 or royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

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