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Ingrid Michaelson is getting candid.
The 35-year-old is already gearing up for a follow-up to last year's Lights Out, which could be her most personal album to date.
"I'm going through a lot in my life, a lot of changes," she told ETonline at South By Southwest, where she was hosting the Palladia Epic Awesome Showcase. "I lost my mother last year, so that has been a completely life altering, obviously in a lot of sad ways, but also in a lot of really good ways. It kinda makes me focus on what's truly important and what I really want in my life, and has actually cleared my mind in a lot of ways."
Michaelson, who very recently split from her husband of three years, said that the loss of her mother has "allowed me to let go of a lot of things, so to write from that perspective is almost like I have a different mind now."
The 35-year-old singer-songwriter revealed that she has re-teamed with her "Girls Chase Boys" collaborators Trent Dabbs and Barry Dean, and that she's already written "some really amazing songs" with country songwriters. (But don't expect to hear any slide guitar on her next album!)
"A lot of people are like, 'Why are you writing with country artists?'" she said, "and to me, what I really love about country music is the melodies are beautiful and the storylines are beautiful, and the only real difference between singer-songwriter pop and country I think is like how it's produced... I think singer-songwriters are about stories and about beautiful melodies, so there's a lot of crossover between those."
Collaborating is a relatively new passion for Michaelson, who went from flying solo on her previous records to working with more than a handful of co-writers and producers on Lights Out.
"I feel like I kind of let go of that control that I'd always had, and the results were just so beautiful to me and I was so happy to be able to share with other people the success of everything," said Michaelson. "There's something really amazing about the process of creating things with other people."
Even with new perspectives and contributors on the upcoming album, Michaelson says the material will come from her core.
"A lot of times in the past I'll say, 'Oh I'm writing about things I've heard or made up stories, and some personal stuff,' but the songs that I'm writing now are completely from the center of me," she revealed. "It's really necessary for this time in my life to get that out there like that. It's been really rewarding and amazing."
Michaelson will continue to tour through June, including a stop at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles and an epic set with Ben Folds and The Colorado Symphony at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, while promoting her latest single, "Time Machine."
"We're gonna change up some old songs, bring some covers in, and we want to make it a really big kind of awesome, larger than life show to close the record with," she said. "[To] have it be like a big bang and then start workin’ on something new."