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Chart Beat Podcast: Songwriter Justin Tranter on Collaborating With Imagine Dragons & the ‘Privilege’ of Using His Platform for Change

Part one of a two-part chat with the award-winning artist & social activist.

Welcome to the Billboard Chart Beat Podcast, where each week co-hosts Gary Trust and Trevor Anderson, from the Billboard charts department, discuss why what’s on the charts … is on the charts, while also looking at current chart action in a historical context for even greater insights.

This week, Gary and Trevor chat with smash songwriter Justin Tranter, who, since his debut on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2014, has co-penned hits by, among others, Justin Bieber (the three-week No. 1 “Sorry”), Selena Gomez (“Good for You,” “Hands to Myself” and “Bad Liar”), Halsey (“Bad at Love”) and frequent collaborator Julia Michaels.


On May 8, the Grammy Award-nominated Tranter won songwriter of the year honors at the 2018 BMI Pop Music Awards for the second consecutive year, along with awards for having co-written Imagine Dragons‘ “Believer,” Linkin Park‘s “Heavy,” Michaels’ “Issues” and Maroon 5‘s “Cold.”

“My favorite part of writing is to find the most honest thing to talk about,” Tranter says of his collaborative style. “You start having the conversation about somebody’s life, what they’re thinking, what they’re feeling, what they want. The minute that starts happening, I dig right into the truth, even if it’s a fun, goofy, sexy song.”

Beyond songwriting, Tranter says of his vocal stances on issues from gun control to LGBTQ rights and more, “Now that I have success, and success equals a platform, if I’m not paying that privilege forward and using the platform I’ve been given … what’s the point of being alive?”


Gary and Trevor also chat about this week’s Hot 100 top 10, as Drake returns to No. 1 with “Nice for What” amid challenges from Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin‘s “I Like It” and Juice WRLD’s “Lucid Dreams.”

Enjoy the latest Billboard Chart Beat Podcast and remember that you can be a part of it by calling the new Chart Beat Podcast hotline: 212-493-4021 (aka, “40-to-1” … like a countdown!) Call with your chart questions and/or observations for us to play back and respond to, and check back for additional upcoming episodes with artists, label executives, radio programmers and personalities, songwriters, producers and more. And, to receive every episode automatically in your inbox, subscribe to (and rate) the Billboard Chart Beat Podcast on iTunes!