By Tim Latterner | April 18, 2017 | People
After a busy few years writing hit after hit for some of pop's biggest stars, Julia Michaels is going solo.
With her debut single, “Issues,” singer-songwriter Julia Michaels moves from behind the scenes to behind the mic.
At first listen, Julia Michaels’s debut single, “Issues,” reveals a singer-songwriter that has a story to tell. Only 23 years old, Michaels has already co-penned smashes for Justin Bieber (“Sorry”), Selena Gomez (“Hands to Myself”), and Nick Jonas (“Close”), and “Issues” draws on the same hit-making formula that helped propel those acts onto the Billboard charts: A stripped-down track puts the focus on a simple, catchy melody and more-honest-than-usual lyrics.
“That’s the case for a lot of the songs I’ll have coming out,” says Michaels. “I’ve written these lyrics, and I want the music to be an added texture to tell a story.” While Michaels has helped other musicians express themselves in radio-ready tracks, she’s added a little of herself to each one. “I always put myself into everything I do,” says Michaels. “A lot of the things you’ve heard that I’ve worked on are a lot of me as well as the other artists.”
Michaels’s first foray into the spotlight has already landed her in the iTunes Top 20, but this time she’s the one putting herself out there. “I had written ‘Issues’ about a fight with my boyfriend,” she says. “At the end of it, we were like, ‘This is something so petty, we love each other, and that’s what matters.’ It felt weird to me that someone else would sing such a personal story. I knew it was mine.”
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MEREDITH TRUAX