What do “Sorry” by Justin Bieber, “Bad Liar” by Selena Gomez, and “Love Myself” by Hailee Steinfeld have in common? In addition to their instant chart-topping status (and inclusion in my Spotify most-played), they’re also all co-written by Julia Michaels.
You probably learned the 24-year-old musician’s name last year, when she released her first single, “Issues,” a vulnerable and relatable pop ballad about a fight with her boyfriend that everyone who’s had a fight with their boyfriend still sings in the shower. But for the better part of a decade — which makes it easy to forget how young Michaels is — she’s been building her career behind the scenes, writing songs that have shaped the landscape contemporary pop. She was a teen when she worked on Gomez’s first solo album and Demi Lovato’s “Fire Starter,” and she’s since co-written three of Bieber’s love songs.
Michaels, who grew up in Santa Clarita, Calif.