There are artists who have undeniable star power, vocal prowess, and magnetism, and there are songwriters who have the uncanny ability to write hit songs – With Julia Michaels, comes the rare talent where the two collide.
Julia Michaels has always been a songwriter. Having an early fascination with words, Julia has spent her young life quietly honing her craft, writing songs that carry complex emotion and powerful vulnerability. The difference maker – these songs happen to have an innate knack for translating into multiplatinum hits.
Julia has solidified herself as one of pop music’s most in-demand songwriters, co-writing a string of Billboard Hot 100 hits alongside Justin Tranter—including inescapable smashes like Justin Bieber’s “Sorry,” Selena Gomez’s “Good for You” [feat. A$AP Rocky], Hailee Steinfeld’s “Love Myself,” and more.
But a song written by Julia Michaels is not just a hit – it is Julia Michaels. It’s a piece of her.
Drawn from real experiences and feelings, Julia’s work effortlessly flows out of her inner being. There’s not a formula for this kind of songwriting. It’s a personal process, one that has become so intimate she can’t let go.
It wasn’t until recently that this attachment to her work really hit home. After writing one of the biggest pop hits of the last year, and after giving it away, Julia recognized her deeper desire to be an artist – to use her voice to sing her songs.
“When I found out someone was recording it, I cried in the bathroom for an hour-and-a-half,” she says, “I didn’t want to admit it to myself. I had shunned the thought of actually being an artist for so long. I only thought I could be a writer, but I just realized how much that particular song felt like me. I thought, ‘Maybe there’s something missing.’ I had to make a change.”
Though obvious to anyone who’s seen her in the studio or on stage, Julia has come to the realization that the time for this change – from writer, to singer-songwriter artist – is now.
After relocating from Iowa, Julia spent her childhood in Santa Clarita, an L.A. suburb known for Magic Mountain, where she opted to be home-schooled in order to spend every free minute writing poetry and lyrics. Julia then met Tranter in 2013 and began the songwriting partnership. By 2016, Julia inked a deal with Republic Records and began working on her forthcoming debut EP.
On the first single “Issues,” her powerful, poignant, and passionate voice spins a tale of relationship trials and tribulations before shining light at the end of the tunnel.
“My boyfriend and I like to fight a lot,” she says. “I have a lot of problems. He has a lot of problems. Somehow, we always work them out and find a way back to each other. ‘Issues’ is knowing and accepting you have problems and your partner has problems and when shit gets hard, you don’t just walk away, you make it work—no matter how fucked up you are. You’re there for each other.”
With “Issues,” people will really get to hear Julia for the first time; and it’s a wonderful thing.
Julia gave the world a preview when she performed “Carry Me” with Kygo at the 2016 closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Rio. Singing in the pouring rain in front of tens of thousands, Julia looked as at ease as if she were in the studio in LA with Tranter. When a star like this is born, all anyone else has to do is sit back at watch. Because when Julia Michaels sings her songs there’s tangible meaning that fills the song, fills the studio, fills the stage. You can feel a Julia Michaels song.
“When I’m writing for myself, I don’t have to worry about what I say,” she leaves off. “I’m a very emotional person, and I put it all out there. My music will always be something you can feel whether it’s something sexual, something that pulls on your heart, or something fun. You’re always going to feel it.”
She may not have known it until now, but Julia Michaels the artist was always going to be. She’s undeniable. It was only a matter of time.