Arts & Entertainment

Press Pass with Ingrid MIchaelson

There’s a lot to discuss.

Since the last time she appeared in the pages of Press Pass, Ingrid Michaelson’s upward climb accelerated rapidly. 838presspass.jpg

She teamed with singer-songwriter Joshua Radin to duet on his single, “Sky.” Her music continued to find spots in TV shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and films such as “House Bunny.” The crowds at her live performances kept filling out, singing with her word for word, largely due to the placement of syrupy-sweet tune “The Way I Am” in an impossible-to-miss Old Navy ad campaign.

Much has happened in the past year of which she can be proud, but Michaelson beams brightest when she speaks of her involvement with Stand Up to Cancer.

Referred to the group by the music editor for “House Bunny” – who would have thought an Anna Farris movie might help cure cancer? – Michaelson offered to license the philanthropic group her new song, “Be OK,” for use in their campaign.

After a live performance of the song, and a few tears from the Stand Up to Cancer folks, “Be OK” has become an anthem for the cause.

“They were like ‘We love it, we want to put it on the website,’ which we did. ‘We want to make a video,’ which we did. ‘We want to do a telethon,'” Michaelson says.

Soon she was rubbing elbows with celebs like Jennifer Aniston, Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr. and Ellen DeGeneres while manning the phone bank.

“I tried to pretend like I wasn’t completely in awe. I was like, ‘Hey, Ellen,'” Michaelson recalls. “I talked to Scarlett Johansson about chicken.”

Her inclusion in the field did lead to some awkwardness on the phone lines, however.

“I would get a call and they would say ‘I was told I’d speak to a celebrity.’ And I’d tell them, ‘I am your celebrity.’ And they’d be like, ‘Oh, who are you?'” she says. “I told them I work closely with Stand Up for Cancer so they wouldn’t think I was just some D-list celebrity. I felt bad. I’m sure they wanted to talk to someone more famous, but what are you going to do?”

Maybe those callers are just ahead of the game, as Michaelson’s fame continues to grow. With a songwriting style that is three parts girl-next-door, one part sage and another part sweetheart, Michaelson has a knack for roping in listeners.

“Be OK” is now part of an 11-song album combining new materials with past hits (“The Way I Am”) and a few covers (“Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “Can’t Help Falling In Love”). Half of the proceeds from the album are donated to Stand Up to Cancer, a total Michaelson placed in the high thousands.

“It’s not going to cure anything, but it might. It helps!”

She’s already working on a follow-up to breakthrough LP, Girls and Boys, with nearly 25 songs already penned. Michaelson is setting aside the first two months after the new year to work on trimming them down to size with a possible Fall 2009 release in mind. In the meantime, she’s touring – sponsored in part by Stand Up to Cancer – and plays the Birchmere Tuesday, Nov. 25. Tickets are $25 and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.

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