Ingrid Michaelson Covers Taylor Swift’s “Clean”: Watch

Christina Lee | December 13, 2014 7:18 am

Ingrid Michaelson covered Taylor Swift‘s “Clean” at Billboard‘s Women in Music event, held on December 12. As she explains, this performance was the closest she’ll come to claiming the 1989 song as her own.

“Taylor played me a few songs off her new record in her apartment,” Michaelson says. “We danced around and drank wine — and had pillow fights, yes. And this one song was just so beautiful that I begged her to send it to me, and she said no. I said, ‘Please?’ and she said, ‘No.'”

The original “Clean,” co-written by Imogen Heap, gently whirrs and ticks along — to quote music writer Jamieson Cox, like “an IKEA kitchen commercial come to life.” Michaelson sings her take at the piano, her voice wavering slightly. So when she says that line about an ex being a wine-stained dress she can’t wear anymore, she sounds like she’s still trying to convince herself that she’ll be okay.

Swift was there to accept the night’s top honor as Billboard Woman of the Year. One reason why, of course, was how 1989 made her gradual transition from homespun country to slick pop seem complete. Smash single “Shake It Off” has served as the most obvious example, though closer “Clean” has been her favorite. Watch Michaelson’s cover up top, then see Swift’s Woman of the Year speech below.

Get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.