Songwriting mastermind behind Bieber’s bangers is going solo
You may not have realised it, but you’ve been listening to Julia Michaels’ music for years. She has co-writing credits on Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry’, Ed Sheeran’s ‘Dive’ and Rita Ora’s ‘Poison’, to name just a few. Now the 23-year-old is keeping some for herself and going solo, with her debut single ‘Issues’ entering the UK Chart at Number 10 in January. Judging by her track record, we’re not surprised.
What made you want to keep ‘Issues’ for yourself?
“I’m a songwriter, so I’m not a precious person when it comes to sharing music. But there was some type of emotion missing when other people sang it. It’s about a big fight with a partner, so it wasn’t their story – it was mine. After I wrote that song it was a turning point and made me want to perform these songs as an artist in my own right.”
What’s it like hearing songs you’ve helped write on the radio a lot?
“Someone made a playlist of all the songs I’ve written and put them on at a party. I was tuning in and thinking, ‘Ah, I should have changed that tiny bit.’ Once it’s out, I feel like I’ve released it from my body and I don’t want to hear it again. I heard ‘Issues’ on the radio the other day and immediately started crying. It’s a real range of emotions.”
Is there a song you wish you’d kept?
“‘Hands To Myself’ [recorded by Selena Gomez in 2015]. Pretty much what you hear now is the demo we recorded. I never thought about keeping it because I had a lot of insecurity about even considering
being an artist at the time.”
Did you know ‘Sorry’ would become so massive?
“I didn’t see that one coming at all. It was all of three weeks from the time it was written to whenit came out. Me and Justin [Tranter, co-writer] said to his team, ‘Are you positive you want this song?’ They said, ‘Yeah, we’re going to put it out in a couple of weeks,’ and the rest is history. We had no idea it was going to do what it did.”
From: Iowa, USA
Live: Capital’s Summertime Ball, Wembley Stadium (June 10)
Buy: Debut single ‘Issues’ is out now
Best Track: ‘Issues’ – A brooding and intimate pop ballad, bolstered by Michaels’ stunning falsetto.