90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
Songstress Ingrid Michaelson

Indie pop star Ingrid Michaelson joins us. She’s the musical sound of Grey’s Anatomy, Scrubs, and much more.

Back in the day, musicians were made when a record label found them in a dusty bar. Indie pop star Ingrid Michaelson’s big break was much more contemporary.

She was made when a licensing company found her irresistible music on MySpace, and sold it to Grey’s Anatomy and Scrubs and One Tree Hill – and Old Navy. Now she’s big, with simple, sweet songs that play way beyond the soundtracks.

This hour On Point:the indie pop sensation Ingrid Michaelson.
-Tom Ashbrook


Ingrid Michaelson, singer-song writer

Alexandra Patsavas, music supervisor, Chop Shop Music Supervision



“The Way I Am”


“You and I” (BE OK, 2008)
“Be OK” (BE OK, 2008)
“The Way I Am” (LIVE) (GIRLS AND BOYS, 2007)
“Maybe” (EVERYBODY, 2009)
“Breakable” (GIRLS AND BOYS, 2007)
“Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap (THE OC, SEASON 2 FINALE)
“Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol (ONE TREE HILL, SEASON THREE FINALE)
“Sort of” (EVERYBODY, 2009)
“Creep” (LIVE, iTUNES EP, 2009)
“Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley (BLUE HAWAII, 1961)
“Can’t Help Falling in Love” (BE OK, 2008)
“Parachute” (LIVE) (PARACHUTE SINGLE, 2010)
“Everybody” (EVERYBODY, 2009)

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “As for “Grey’s Anatomy,” the series used not one but three of the songs from Ms. Michaelson’s album. Then the producers took the unusual step of asking her to try writing something specifically for the show. She grabbed the opportunity and created “Keep Breathing,” […] ‘I love songs that have tension, tension, tension, and then release,” Ms. Michaelson said. “We feel it in our bodies. We hold in the tension, and then we release and exhale.’”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

    She’s a hot nerd.

  • AC

    you’re one of my pandora stations, love your work!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

    She reminds me Amy Winehouse.

    • BHA in Vermont

      Without the drugs I hope

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

        those 2 are inseparable.

        • Terry Tree Tree


          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

            my mother was a promoter in California. she said the stage fright and the boring hours of composing music makes pot a good partner

            That’s her opinion. It could be different meaning for each individual artist.

    • AC


      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

        Not the song or music but for being a young musical talented artist.

      • Sadsweatshirt

        agreed. no relation at all

  • Kathyweld

    I had my tech-savvy son program my cell phone ring tone to be: “Let’s get rich and buy our parents homes in the South of France…” Everyone who hears it, LOVES it!

    • Wenchy

      That’s my ringtone for my husband. :)

  • Erin in Iowa

    LOVE the way I am!

  • Real Talk

    you have a beautiful voice……

  • Sik4toyz

    Ingrid LIVE arrrrr, I’m tearing up!!! goosebumps and everything!!!

    Tom, you said it, its the wisdom and sadness of her lyrics, the romantic voice, and something so uniquely feminine that get me.

  • Adam and Jenna

    Just got hitched a month ago and a friend did a rendition of Way I Am for our ceremony.
    Thanks Ingrid!
    Adam and Jenna

  • pak86

    Your songs remind me of Regina Spektor and Katie Melua. Have you been inspired by them?

    Also, I’d really like to know the name of the song that was being played before her introduction!

  • Josh McDonald

    I’ve always loved “The Way I Am” … right up until the line about buying Rogaine. Doesn’t the guy get to be loved the way he is, even if the way he is involves less hair than it used to?? Isn’t there a double-standard there?

    • yupbud

      the entire song is about all of the things she will do for him if he only loves her in return. No double standard here, she’s working her butt off for his approval.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

    Musicians are struggling nowadays. a delimma because of the economy and the competition of other young Hip Hop artist. Indie rock is like a dormant music. it has sudden eruptions of hit songs and then sleeps for awhile like a volcano. Like REM, Blur or Elvis Costello.

  • Anonymous

    Doesn’t staying away from a label enable the artist to maintain full control of their work?

  • VT Listener

    Aside from the great music, Ingrid is so funny in concert! Go see her.

    • Theshortlong

      I couldn’t agree more. My husband and I have seen her three times and would go again in a heartbeat!

    • VT Fan

      Yes! I loved her. Quirky and full of surprises, and very engaged with her audience.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

    I define Indie music like a poetry on lyrics.

  • catherine

    Lovely voice.  Her singing style sounds very much like Regina Spektor who came before.  Would love to hear what she has to say about Spektor’s influence.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

    I wish Ingrid will compose a music with Indie and Hip Hop. majority of music now are made together. just like Eminem, Jay-z or Pit Bull

    Indie and hip hop has not been tried yet I think it will be an awesome music.

    • Ddenney_1

      Why mix the sublime with the ridiculous?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

        ha!!!! have you tried listening to Bruno Mars and Eminem or Alpha Ville and Jay-Z. if not stop being a so Ridiculous. Try listening to Tyga’s song “Far Away.” if you listen to this song you will know the true meaning of music not only from a sublime side.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Good sounding and good looking lady!  I’m happy for her sucess!

  • http://en-gb.facebook.com/onanov Donald Baxter

    A real talent, nice musicianship and songwriting.  Sadly overexposed and that’s difficult to manage.  I’d like her more if I heard her less.

  • Guest

    Great music, love the simplicity. How is it different from the simple country music?

    • Ddenney_1

      It’s just dressed up in another idiom. did you catch the program on Brett Dillon on the Documentary Channel this month?  There’s a conduit to great country music.

  • Heaviest Cat

    I can sympathize with young artists needing to make a living by getting their music “licensed” but I feel that this hour can be reduced to one word. “Marketing”. I’ve yet to hear the word “co-optation” in regard to how commercial television shows “place” songs. what’s so “Indie” about that? It’s also not to “public” radio’s credit that Tom is not offering any critical inquiry into corporate hijacking of music ,arts et al. But then again NPR has been promoting commercial telelvision for at least a decade ,now. So much for “independent journalism.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

      please give her a BREAK.

      • Heaviest Cat

        read my post and you’ll see that I did.

    • Dan Denney

      Still a good show. Marketing a topic for another day.

      • Heaviest Cat

        Dan the show WAS marketing. that’s my problem with it. Listen to all the tv shows it promoted.

    • Rational

      How people earn an honest living is nobody’s business but their own. Music snobs are more judgmental than Evangelicals. Live and let live, and appreciate that she has a better life and more fans now than she had playing the noble Calvinist in sleazy bars.

      • Heaviest Cat

        “Noble Calvinst”? That’s rich. Besides, didn’t I say, I sympathized with her need to make a living? But by your definition of “live and let live”nobdy will ever question the markets infoltration into every aspect of our lives. I don’t kow about you but I’m a citizen not a mere consumer. There was a time when NPR respected that.

    • Susan

      Are you aware that Ingrid has never been beholden to a record label?  She is completely self-made–I don’t know how you can get more indie than that.  She retains complete artistic control, unlike many so-called indie acts.  The television shows/commercials, etc. are coming to HER, requesting her product, not telling her how to make it.  

      • Heaviest Cat

        whether that’s true or not Susan, it still boils down to marketing and commercialism.

  • Roger

    Great songs. The obvious predecessor is Suzanne Vega (which is a big compliment). Ingrid’s lyrics are notable for being neither discursive sociological claptrap on the one hand nor obscene doggerel on the other. I’d like to know if she got to that point just from listening to all the great song lyrics of the past or has also immersed herself in the long tradition of literary poetry in English

  • Elizabeth in Norwood, MA

    In the 90′s Northern Exposure was a hot show.  At the end of the final episode, a song by Iris DeMent, “Our Town,” was used.  Very similar to the wave Ingrid is riding.  Changes in communication and sharing of information has affected the music industry and how typically under the rader artists get discovered.  GREAT SHOW — I’m going to give my yearly donation ahead of time just for this show today!!  Thanks.

  • shan

    Great show again Tom… Ingrid’s a sheer delight to listen to!

  • Mltouw

    I came around to loving Ingrid when I saw a random You tube cover of one of your songs by some young girls- I love the lyrics and your message and stories- Even though I am a relative “old lady” It has inspired me to play guitar and sing some songs again.

  • http://ddenneyphoto.net Dan Denney

    Great show w/ Ingrid today.  First heard her on the Bob and Tom Show awhile ago. Very fresh approach both lyrics and tunes.

  • Brett

    While I only listen to music by regional artists and friends, I can appreciate commercial music and the work that artists put into their craft. 

    Ms. Michaelson’s career and sound remind me of so many female recording artists these days…who was that one from Canada who had the hit “1,2,3,4″ or whatever it was called? I can’t remember her name just now…I am always interested in how people use their voices to convey emotion when they sing; I am a little tired, though, of the breathy, wispy style (that fluctuates between a falsetto and half-falsetto) used these days by many women singers, at times intentionally clipped where, say, a vibrato might sound fresh. It seems to be some kind of reaction to the ostentatious approach that is peppered with lots of vocal athleticism displayed by many Black women singers. I do think that this style of Indie Pop has a better chance than commercial Hip Hop or Rap at giving birth to some new kind of music (which is long overdue; it’s as if we’re stuck in the 1990′s). The only thing new in commercial music in the last 20 years is how it’s marketed. Commercial music has become stagnant for some time now.  

    • Michele


      • Brett

        Thanks, Michele, I like some of the music she [Feist] has done…Madeleine Peyroux captured my attention for a while as her guitar and vocal style are interesting, I have been messing around with incorporating Swing and Gypsy Jazz into my own style and Ms. Peyroux seems to be quite influenced by those…  

      • Brett

        Thanks, Michele…I like some of the music she [Feist] has done…I like Madeleine Peyroux/have found her music interesting; she incorporates elements of Swing and Gypsy Jazz into her style.

        • Rolamus

          Hey Brett – Can’t we just enjoy music for the pure sake of just enjoying it – “commercial” or “regional”?  Otherwise, you and I are just music snobs.  

          • Brett

            You can characterize me as a “music snob” because not ALL musicians’ music is to my liking, but that would not be fair. I was relating to the music I am into right now; who knows what will be my focus in the near future. I have listened to and played all types of music in my life, and I suspect I will continue. 

            I’ve never told anybody what kind of music they should be listening to/enjoy. What was it in my posts that suggested I think people should only listen to regional music as opposed to commercial music? As I said in an earlier comment, I respect commercial artists (which is what Ingrid Michaelson is).  

    • nj

      This strike me as odd: “While I only listen to music by regional artists and friends,…”

      I can’t imagine why one would submit to that kind of limitation.

      • Brett

        I am a musician myself, and the regional artists I know keep me more than busy in experiencing music, which is mostly live. I have listened to all sorts of music in my life, and I hear commercial music every now and then these days, but my focus just now is sharing music with my friends, comrades and among musicians along my circuit, as it were. There’s nothing odd nor limiting about it. We all place limitations to some degree on what books, music, movies, etc., we choose to experience, and we all discriminate. So, you are correct in that you didn’t employ much in the way of imagination as it pertained to my post. 

        Many of the finest musicians in this land are ones few will ever hear on the National level. 

    • Arnoldaj

      Blah, blah blah, hipster ramblings..

  • http://twitter.com/meganinwien Megan Tice

    wish we could buy those live ukelele versions. Loved it.

  • Bonbon_05

    i didn’t actually hear this, but i saw it on ingrid’s twitter…. I LOVE INGRID MICHAELSON!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Taylinbooth

    I think Ingrid is cool, bro.
    I’d marry her.

  • Sadsweatshirt

    I love Ingrid.  I first saw her at the mile high music festival.  She was great and funny.  I loved the valentine’s day concert she posted too.  Please come out west again soon.  Thank you for being yourself.  Real hair, boobs, and normal wardrobe.  You prove that you dont have to be ridiculous to get attention.  If you deserve it, you’ll get it for the right reasons. 

  • Megan

    Ingrid, I’ve loved your music since my sister introduced me to you a few years ago. About a year ago, I decided to learn your song, The Way I Am, on my guitar, because I just loved the song and I thought the music video was incredible too. Then I met this amazing guy. When we first got together I serenaded him with the song and it’s been our song since. The song is perfect for us in many ways, but we especially like the line about buying rogaine when you lose all your hair. See, baldness runs in both our families and it’s something we are both dealing with, so it fits us perfectly. Thanks for all the amazing music, Ingrid!

  • Mrcarl

    Thought Amanda Palmer was going to call her out on the creep uke cover that she does as well. . . 

  • ulTRAX

    IM might be a great performer. But us she really a weighty enough topic for a show like OnPoint?

    I think not.

  • Monique

    As a truly independent musician, I find this casual use of the word “indie” somewhat insulting. “Indie pop sensation” is an oxymoron. If you’re a pop sensation and you’ve landed substantial backing through a record deal, agent, a publishing deal, etc, you are not “indie”. There’s no doubt that Ingrid is a talented musician, but let’s remember where the word “indie” comes from and what it really means. There are hundreds of thousands of talented musicians out there who continue to play to small audiences and struggle to do what they love, and are no less serious about it. And they are doing it all on their own. Most of them will never be noticed, and they will keep ay it. Those musicians are “indie”.

  • http://twitter.com/Monica_Torres Monica Torres

    I love her voice! I think I was introduced to her in the Old Navy commercials and I haven’t been disappointed with anything she’s produced. Thank you so much for your music, words, and inspirations. 

Aug 20, 2014
A man holds his hands up in the street after a standoff with police Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

A deep read on Ferguson, Missouri and what we’re seeing about race, class, hope and fear in America.

Aug 20, 2014
In this Oct. 21, 2013 file photo, a monarch butterfly lands on a confetti lantana plant in San Antonio. A half-century ago Monarch butterflies, tired, hungry and bursting to lay eggs, found plenty of nourishment flying across Texas. Native white-flowering balls of antelope milkweed covered grasslands, growing alongside nectar-filled wildflowers. But now, these orange-and-black winged butterflies find mostly buildings, manicured lawns and toxic, pesticide-filled plants. (AP)

This year’s monarch butterfly migration is the smallest ever recorded. We’ll ask why. It’s a big story. Plus: how climate change is creating new hybridized species.

Aug 19, 2014
Lara Russo, left, Cally Guasti, center, and Reese Werkhoven sit on a couch in their apartment in New Paltz, N.Y. on Thursday, May 15, 2014.  While their roommate story of $40,800 found in a couch made the news, other, weirder stories of unusual roommates are far more common. (AP)

From college dorms and summer camps to RVs and retirement hotels, what it’s like to share a room. True stories of roommates.

Aug 19, 2014
Police wait to advance after tear gas was used to disperse a crowd Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer last Saturday in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

“War zones” in America. Local police departments with military grade equipment – how much is too much, and what it would take to de-militarize America’s police force.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Your (Weird? Wonderful? Wacky?) Roommate Stories
Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014

We asked, and you delivered: some of the best roommate stories from across our many listener input channels.

More »
1 Comment
Our Week In The Web (August 15, 2014)
Friday, Aug 15, 2014

On Pinterest, Thomas the Tank Engine and surprising population trends from around the country. Also, words on why we respond to your words, tweets and Facebook posts.

More »
Nickel Creek Plays Three Songs LIVE For On Point
Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014

Nickel Creek shares three live (well, mostly) tracks from their interview with On Point Radio.

More »