There’s going to be a lotta love on Julia Michaels’ upcoming debut full-length album.
It’s “about finding love and being in love,” the singer-songwriter tells the Billboard Pop Shop Podcast (listen to her interview with Jason Lipshutz, Billboard’s senior director, music, below). And she’s very to-the-point about the direction of the project and how it’s “gonna be very much about this new relationship and being in love.”
Said relationship is with fellow singer-songwriter JP Saxe (“we’re pretty cute,” she laughs), and the two are enjoying a hit single together with the collaboration “If the World Was Ending.” The cut, which the pair co-wrote, is currently in the top 10 of Billboard’s Pop Songs airplay chart — marking Saxe’s first top 10 effort and Michaels’ second, after her breakthrough hit “Issues” in 2017.
Leading the way for Michaels’ upcoming full-length set is her new single “Lie Like This,” which was released Oct. 1.
While releasing her own music, Michaels continues to be an in-demand songwriter. In the past year, acts ranging from Michaels’ frequent collaborator Selena Gomez to The Chicks, Kelsea Ballerini and Dua Lipa have all released tunes co-written with Michaels. (Among them: Gomez’s first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, “Lose You to Love Me.”)
Below are some highlights from Michaels’ interview on the Pop Shop Podcast, including what inspired the single “Lie Like This,” how her upcoming album will be full of love, what it’s been like to experience the success of “If the World Was Ending.”
On how “Lie Like This” started — and what inspired the track and its lyric “he says I’m pretty upside down”:
The song actually came about because I was sitting on JP. My back was on his stomach, and I was sitting in front of him. And I turned my head upside down [to] kiss him … [and thought] “I’m putting that in a song!” And we went to the studio and that’s how that song started!
On how her upcoming debut full-length album reflects “being in love”:
This album is gonna be very much about this new relationship and being in love and being in something that feels easy, and nice, and secure and stable. And not toxic and dramatic like you think love is supposed to be. So I’m excited. This is gonna be my first album. I’ve only ever put out EPs, so this is my first album and this is the first time I’ve had a really healthy relationship with love, so I’m excited to talk about it.
On having written songs about Saxe on the upcoming album:
I’ve written a couple songs on this album about him, and he’ll play me a song that he’s written afterward — kind of like as a rebuttal. Or like, you know, “Hey, I know this was your insecurity in this song, but let me just tell you why it doesn’t have to be an insecurity in my song.” So, we’re pretty cute. It’s kind of annoying. We’re pretty gross… it’s fine.
On what it’s been like experiencing the success of “If the World Was Ending” with Saxe:
It’s been sort of mixed emotions. The song was starting to peak when the pandemic was happening, and there were all these wildfires, and there were earthquakes going on everywhere. And there was a tornado in Nashville. All of these weird world catastrophes. And it did feel very real. And it felt really bizarre to have a song like this happen. And we wrote this way before any of this even took place. So we were really conflicted about it for a little while. But once we saw how people were gravitating to it, and resonating with it, in such a time of crisis, then we started to sort of accept it more…
On how the new album will differ from her EPs:
I think the biggest difference in this album is that with my EPs prior, it was very much self-reflective. It was talking about my anxiety and my depression and my body issues. All of those things that I sort of think about on a daily basis, which is why it was called Inner Monologue.
And this [album] is more just about finding love and being in love, and not being bitter about love. And I think, too, for the people that listen to my music, because I have had these feelings before where you think, just because you have these issues — no pun intended — that you’re not worthy enough for love. That you’re not good enough for love, you don’t deserve love. You purposely search out toxic relationships because you think that’s what you deserve. And I want my fans to know that you can find love even with all these things that go on in your head and in your mind, and all these things that you feel about your body. When you find it, it’s so special, and it’s easy, and it doesn’t have to be this theatrical, dramatic thing, you know?
Elsewhere in the new episode of the Pop Shop Podcast, hosts Katie and Keith discuss chart news about Travis Scott and Machine Gun Kelly debuting at No. 1 on the Hot 100 and Billboard 200 chart, respectively; the return of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”; Shawn Mendes’ new single and video for “Wonder”; and Mariah Carey’s new archival album The Rarities.
The Billboard Pop Shop Podcast is your one-stop shop for all things pop on Billboard‘s weekly charts. You can always count on a lively discussion about the latest pop news, fun chart stats and stories, new music, and guest interviews with music stars and folks from the world of pop. Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear Billboard‘s deputy editor, digital, Katie Atkinson and senior director of charts Keith Caulfield every week on the podcast, which can be streamed on Billboard.com or downloaded in Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast provider. (Click here to listen to the previous edition of the show on Billboard.com.)