Ingrid Michaelson Recruits Deaf and Hard of Hearing Actors to Perform ASL in New 'Hell No' Music Video
The singer-songwriter "thought this would be a great way for people who are often unable to enjoy music videos to get people to experience something we all take for granted"
Ingrid Michaelson got particularly hands-on for her latest music video.
The indie pop artist released the official clip of her new breakup single “Hell No” in April, and it was the first music video completely filmed on Snapchat. But after seeing the Deaf West theater company’s Spring Awakening cast perform on the Tony Awards last month, she was inspired to recreate the music video for a wider range of viewers.
So, Michaelson tapped six actors from the theater company who range from hard of hearing to deaf, and they appear in her new “Hell No” music video performing the lyrics translated to American Sign Language – and PEOPLE has an exclusive first look at the music video.
“I was so moved by Deaf West’s performance on the Tonys this year that I reached out to Deaf West artistic director DJ Kurs and Tony-nominated director Michael Arden with an idea to incorporate their incredible work with ASL into a music video, Michaelson, 36, told PEOPLE exclusively.
“Fortunately, they agreed and thought this would be a great way for people who are often unable to enjoy music videos to get to experience something we all take for granted,” she continued.
Deaf West’s artistic director told PEOPLE they were flattered and humbled to take part in the clip.
“We were honored that Ingrid was moved enough by our production of Spring Awakening to invite us to collaborate with her,” Kurs said. “Our mission is to bridge the divide between the hearing and deaf worlds, and our collaboration is a significant step towards this goal. Our company is always exploring the synergy between ASL and music, and we’re thrilled that our work is being seen by a new audience.”
Adds Michaelson: “It was a total collaboration the incredible actors performed with me, interpreting the song into ASL, while I sang – and tried my best to sign!”
“Hell No” is the first single off Michaelson’s forthcoming LP It Doesn’t Have to Make Sense, due Aug. 26 and available for pre-order Friday. The album will be her seventh – and her first since she and musician husband Greg Laswell split last year. She is currently dating Nashville actor Will Chase.
Michaelson kicked off her Hell No Tour in June, will perform at the Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville, California, on July 23, then will be on the road across the country from Oct. 8 through Nov. 21.
It Doesn’t Have To Make Sense is available for preorder on iTunes.