While select musicians around the country woke up to good news Tuesday (Nov. 28) with the Grammy awards’ 2018 nominations announcement, it was a bit different for Julia Michaels. The “Issues” singer and songwriter is currently on tour in Sydney, Australia, and was jolted awake in the middle of the night to find her manager just six inches from her face announcing the news, who then proceeded to jump on top of her and start crying.
“I was just like, ‘What is happening right now?’ It was so funny,” Michaels tells Billboard of the understandably shocking experience. “Every artist dreams of being nominated for a Grammy. I was really nervous. I’m such a pessimist, I was like it’s not going to happen, I want it to happen but it’s not gonna happen, and I just decided last night I was gonna wake up like it’s Christmas morning and I was either going to get the bike that I wanted or the pair of socks and I was just going to have to accept the outcome. And I was woken up early to the news and I just couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it, I’m still in shock.”
With nominations in both the best new artist and song of the year (“Issues”) categories, Michaels didn’t just get the bike she wanted, she jokes she got “the bike and the scooter.”
An accomplished songwriter, often teaming up with writing partner Justin Tranter, Michaels can count Justin Bieber‘s “Sorry,” Selena Gomez‘s “Hands to Myself,” Britney Spears‘ “Slumber Party” and plenty other hits among her career successes. But these are the 24-year-olds’ first Grammy nominations and hold particular significance since they came for her own material, after releasing her major label debut EP, Nervous System, with Republic in July.
“It’s incredible, I’ve always wanted to be recognized as a songwriter at the Grammys and now being recognized as an artist and knowing that what I do resonates with people enough to even be voted into such a huge category, it’s such a surreal feeling,” she says. “It’s just insane, the fact that I’ve been doing this for so long and, again, I’m being recognized not just as a songwriter but as an artist for the very first time. I’ve been at the Grammys the last three years and just watching all these incredible artists pour their hearts out on those stages and just knowing that I may be one of those people — or I guess now I kind of am, which is crazy — it just feels… I have no words. I absolutely have no words.”
Naturally, Michaels spent Tuesday — which was actually Wednesday in Australia — celebrating the news, albeit from afar. She says “Issues” co-writer Benny Blanco was the first to text her, while Traitor sent her a video of him exercising on an elliptical trainer, saying, “Girl, we fucking did this!” Shawn Mendes, who she is supporting during this Australian tour, texted her congratulations as well.
“There was a whole group chat and it’s just been lots of love from everybody,” she says. “It’s awesome.”
With two months to go now until the 60th Annual Grammy Awards take place Jan. 28 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Michaels says she has a few plans to prepare for the big night but most of all will be trying not to psych herself up.
“I’m gonna find the most kickass outfit I can possibly find and I’m gonna try not to think about it too much, which I know is impossible because this kind of thing will completely consume me,” she says. “I would love to be the person on that stage who gets to thank everyone that’s helped me along the way and I hope that I get to do that.”