Julia Michaels’ Mental Health and Making „Anxiety“ With Selena Gomez

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“It’s a killer, isn’t it?” Julia Michaels tells CR playfully by phone.

The singer is referring to her own anxiety—a topic so close to her heart that the lead single from her new, stripped-down EP Inner Monologue Part 1 also bears the title. “Anxiety,” which features Selena Gomez, for whom Michaels often writes songs, is an effort to help people who are struggling. “I just want people to know that they’re not alone,“ Michael says. To do that, Michaels, 25, made the track’s lyrics as close to her as possible, detailing racing thoughts, insomnia, and the decision of whether or not to take medication for mental health. Michaels also takes on the resulting isolation that can come with it (“My friends, they wanna take me to the movies / I tell ‚em to fuck off, I’m holding hands with my depression,” she sings in the song).

Like Michaels, Gomez has been candid about her own struggles with anxiety, so it makes sense that the two musicians and friends would collaborate on a song about something they’ve both learned to cope with. “When I had played it for Selena, she was like, ‘Holy cow, this is exactly how I feel. I wanna do this,’ and we both loved the fact that we were just two women talking about our relationship with anxiety and not relationships with men or us fighting about somebody or something, which most female duets happen to do,” says Michaels.

In addition to Gomez, Michaels’ latest EP also features a collaboration with former One Direction star Niall Horan titled, “What a Time.” I thought it would be so amazing if there was a male perspective on it,” recalls Michaels. For her next project, she plans to focus on relationships, whether that be with herself, a romantic partner, or someone else: “I think that’s the thing I know best: connection, intimacy, love, and heartbreak.”

Originally, Michael was release an album last year, she decided to push it back. “I write new songs, and then I feel closer to those songs than to some of the older ones and then you have to get them produced, and it takes time to get them produced, and I try to keep everything [relevant] in terms of my life,” she explains. But she does cite “the added self-pressure sabotage, and your insecurities” as a reason for the postponement. But the artist is finally in a place where she’s ready to share more of herself, Part of that came down to holding herself accountable, which she attempts to do so with the new EP.

Michaels, born Julia Carin Cavazos, has known for a long time that she would be expressing herself through art. The Iowa native, who grew up listening to country, rock and pop, always loved poetry and began putting her personal poems to music with chords at 12 when she got a piano for the first time. She immediately fell in love with songwriting.

In 2017, Michaels, who was known as the singer-songwriter behind hits from Gomez, Demi Lovato, Fifth Harmony, Shawn Mendes, Britney Spears, and Justin Bieber, finally released her breakout single “Issues.” This time, instead of penning a song about jealousy, depression, and unconditional love for another artist, she kept it for herself. It proved to be the perfect introduction to pop fans for the unflinchingly honest singer. Since then, Michaels has been steadily releasing music over the past few years, with her debut EP Nervous System, as well as collaborations with 5 Seconds of Summer, Lauv, Shawn Mendes, and Rita Ora.

Inner Monologue Part 1 happens to be the first part of Michaels’ album. “I didn’t want to put everything out all in one go,” she says. “I wanted to sort of just space it out.” It’s something she attributes to her upcoming tours, including one at the end of January—one with P!nk and her own headline tour in March. Michaels fans will notice that her latest project is significantly more stripped-down than her debut EP, but not any less honest. In fact, she maintains it might be even more-so thanks to “Anxiety.” “‘Issues’ is probably pretty close to being the most personal, but I also think ‘Anxiety’ is gonna be probably the most personal,” she explains. “It’s not about me and relationships, or me and love or anything like that. That is literally just me in my own space, dealing with my own problems on my own time.”

With her career on an upward trajectory, Michaels is leaning into the spotlight, despite the anxiety that comes with it. Now, she craves the surge of energy that comes with singing live: she can’t deny how special that is. “Songwriting will always be in my blood; it will always be in my nature,” she says. “But there really is nothing like being onstage and seeing all these beautiful faces sing back your words with you, because they feel it just as much as you do.”

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createdAt:Sun, 27 Jan 2019 23:29:54 +0000
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