A silent auction running at Hope College through Tuesday is providing four chances at the hottest tickets in town: a performance by singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson on Friday, Jan. 31, at 8 p.m. at the college’s Knickerbocker Theatre in downtown Holland.
Most of the tickets for the 500-seat event sold out to students less than 24 hours after they went on sale. A total of four, however, are available individually through the silent auction, which is being held on behalf of the student-organized Dance Marathon fundraiser that benefits Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.
The tickets are for front-row seats. The bidding is taking place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays through Tuesday, Jan. 28, at the Student Union Desk on the main floor of the college’s DeWitt Center. The silent auction is open to the general community as well as students.
Proceeds from the auction will become part of the total raised by this year’s Dance Marathon, which will announced at the conclusion of the 24-hour dance marathon in March. The concert has been organized by the college’s Student Activities Committee and the Hope College Concert Series.
When she walks into a store in her Brooklyn neighborhood, Ingrid Michaelson is rarely recognized. But once she hands over her credit card to pay, the clerk often pauses, brightens up, and enthusiastically offers a bit of trivia: “Did you know that there's a singer named Ingrid Michaelson?”
Image has never been her priority, but Michaelson has earned enviable name-recognition thanks to her knack for crafting beautiful, idiosyncratic songs such as “The Way I Am,” “Maybe” and “Keep Breathing.” (Her new album, “Human Again,” drops January 24 on Cabin 24 Records/ Mom+Pop Music.) And let the record show that her librarian-chic style has nonetheless received a shout-out in “The New York Times.”
Michaelson's grassroots sensibility has worked like gangbusters: Her music, often about love and relationships, has wafted out of your television in handfuls of “Grey’s Anatomy” episodes (not to mention countless other series since such as “American Idol,” “Parenthood” and “So You Think You Can Dance”), in an affecting Google Chrome ad, and on VH1 as an artist You Outta Know. “The New York Times” marveled that she was “singing her way from obscurity to fame.” “Billboard” trumpeted her as the face of the new music business. NPR declared, “Ingrid Michaelson is everywhere.” As an independent artist, she has sold more than 750,000 albums and three million singles.
With “Human Again,” produced by David Kahne (Regina Spektor, Paul McCartney) Michaelson throws a wrench in her reputation as the Crafter of Dainty Love Songs. “The album is called ‘Human Again,’ because it’s taken me a very long time to be happy,” she says. “I am writing about a really dark time in my life even though I’m not there.”
“Human Again” is also a triumph in aural range. The music veers from orchestral (Kahne's specialty) to percussive, while her accompanying voice swells from contralto to soprano. “I think I was really singing out, physically, on this album,” she says. “Usually that's set aside for divas, and the rest of us kind of have to whisper and be precious. I figured, ‘Why don't I just put that out on at least one record in my career -- let it all hang out?’”
Such artistic ambition has always percolated in the blood of this singer-songwriter – who’s also co-written and starred in a semi-autobiographical, comedic pilot that she and improv-actress Rebekka Johnson are shopping around to TV networks. (The show is still untitled.)
The Staten Island-raised daughter of classical-music composer Carl Michaelson, she took piano lessons from the age of five and starred in plays during her grade-school years. Michaelson went on to study musical theater at Binghamton University in upstate New York, where she sang in an a cappella group. After graduating, she cultivated her interest in music by performing at a coffee house where she worked as a barista. She was teaching theater to kids when she got a fateful call in 2006 from a music manager named Lynn Grossman whose company Secret Road discovered Michaelson’s homegrown tunes on her MySpace page.
Within a few months, Michaelson’s music could be found sound-tracking “Grey’s Anatomy” with songs such as the cascading “Breakable” and the melancholic lullaby “Keep Breathing.” A music supervisor for Old Navy just happened to catch the episode featuring the latter and snapped up the cooing, calypso-inflected “The Way I Am” for one of the company’s commercials. (The song ultimately went platinum.) Radio play followed, just in time for the release of her 2007 full-length debut, “Girls and Boys” (out on Cabin 24 Records, her own imprint). This all happened in about a year. “We really had a lot of luck, and then we worked really hard to be in the position we're in nowadays,” says Michaelson, who's since released an EP, 2008’s “Be OK,” and a follow-up album, “Everybody” (both via the Cabin 24 label) -- each proving fertile resources for music licensors.
Additional information about Dance Marathon is available at hope.edu/dancemarathon.
The DeWitt Center is located at 141 E. 12th St., facing Columbia Avenue at 12th Street. The Knickerbocker Theatre is located at 86 E. Eighth St., between College and Columbia avenues.