Future Stars: Julia Michaels (Republic)

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

Most songs released by young pop stars are written by (or with) older people, usually those who never made it as an artist in their own right. That’s not the case with Julia Michaels, who has become one of the most sought-after pop writers in the past few years. Now aged 23, she got her break as a writer in her late teens, working with Lindy Robbins on tracks for Demi Lovato and Fifth Harmony. 2015 was a big year, as she caught my attention for the brilliant Love Myself by Hailee Steinfeld, and had 2 big hits with Justin Bieber’s Sorry and Selena Gomez’s Good For You. Although she initially wasn’t interested in becoming an artist, she was asked to appear on tracks by Jason Derulo, Zedd and Kygo, and even performed with Kygo at the 2016 Olympics. Republic Records, whose artists she often writes for, convinced her to sign with them, and her debut single Issues comes out this Friday. While she has written mostly for very mainstream pop acts, from Britney Spears to Little Mix, I think Julia’s own music will be more indie-pop, as she cites artists like Laura Marling and Missy Higgins as her influences. Songwriters have often struggled to turn their success into pop stardom, the most obvious example being Bonnie McKee, but there could be a space for Julia if she focuses on a radio-friendly singer-songwriter style.

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