4 Steps to Success: Ingrid Michaelson

Ingrid Michaelson's new album "Lights Out" bows at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 dated May 3, with 37,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Here's how she did it.

14 Months Ago

Michaelson began work on her sixth album, released on her own Cabin 24 and Mom + Pop through RED, in February 2013. First single "Girls Chase Boys" came together by accident during a session with Trent Dabbs and Barry Dean in Nashville. "We were just being silly and beat-boxing, and then we looped it and wrote it in an hour," says Michaelson, 34. "You don't know how people are going to respond to your songs. Unless you're Dr. Luke, it's hard to say, 'I'm going to write a hit.' "

3 Months Ago

"Girls Chase Boys" made its radio debut on SiriusXM's Pulse channel on Feb. 3. The next day RED serviced the track to triple A, adult top 40 and top 40. It's paying off: The song moves 19-18 on the Adult Top 40 chart dated May 3. "I'm not Katy Perry or Lady Gaga - stations don't have to add me," says Michaelson of the radio push. "They have to really like the record."

Release Week

The singer-songwriter hit the TV circuit hard leading up to street week, with the first performance of "Girls Chase Boys" on VH1's Big Morning Buzz on March 31. A Grammy Museum Q&A (April 8) and performances on Conan (April 9) and Today (April 15) followed. On April 16, the day after the album release, she celebrated with a concert at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn (April 16); guests included Taylor Swift. "It was so sweet of her to come," says Michaelson. "Whenever she tweets about me I get so many more followers."

Up Next

Michaelson will follow "Girls Chase Boys" with "Time Machine," which was originally planned as the lead single. A video featuring Rainn Wilson was filmed last November. Michaelson will have a synch in the film Me, Him, Her, and "Girls Chase Boys" will soon be covered on a TV singing competition show - she won't reveal which one. She's currently on a 31-date tour through June 3, and will play Europe, Australia and Singapore this fall. "When you go on the road and people sing the songs back to you, that's when it sinks in: People are connecting," says Michaelson. "I'm just tired already. My plan is to crash instantly after every show - no partying for me."