When Ingrid Michaelson was road-testing songs that eventually went on her recently released album "Human Again," she was a bit torn.
Her 2006 album "Girls and Boys" was such a pop hit with tracks such as "Die Alone," "Masochist" and "Breakable," that her fans were a bit dismayed by some of her newer work. Like fans of most artists, they wanted to freeze Michaelson's music in time.
"I've read their comments," Michaelson said. "Some of my fans write 'We want Ingrid at the piano, barefoot and playing love songs.' Some of my fans hate it. ... But while it's different, it's still me."
|When: 7 p.m. Wednesday|
|Where: 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW|
|Info: Sold out at press time; 930.com|
"Human Again" has a bigger, bolder sound more reflective of how Michaelson's, and likely her fans', lives have changed in the past several years.
"I kind of always feel like the little sister at the older sister's slumber party," Michaelson told Billboard magazine after the album's release. "I either want to be a little older or maybe the older sister."
Although Michaelson said she was grateful for all of the commercial success her songs brought -- they were heard everywhere from "Old Navy" to "Mott's Apple Juice" ads -- she's ready to let fans hear her own voice. Think of her as a tightrope walker who has decided to ditch the net.
"I feel like I had a big splash when I first started," Michaelson told Billboard. "My only real regret is, that splash was more about that it was an independent and new way of doing business. I never had that artistic splash."
Fair enough, but she also never made a serious misstep either.
To move forward, Michaelson took her time with this latest album, choosing songs and arrangements that ensured the album would be "good and solid and smart and interesting."
Mission accomplished. "Human Again" is less young indie artist and more mature singer-songwriter. Although there are orchestral flourishes aplenty, Michaelson still lets her vulnerability shine through SEmD just not as blatantly as she has in the past.
"I just can't keep doing the same thing," she said. "This is just better for me. It's more who I am."
And that's easy to love.