After writing a handful of hits (Justin Bieber’s “Sorry”, Selena Gomez’s “Hands to Myself”, Hailee Steinfeld’s “Love Myself”), Julia Michaels became a star herself with her 2017 smash “Issues”. Fame hasn’t always been easy for the singer-songwriter, who has battled crippling anxiety since her teens. But Michaels, 25, who recently split from singer boyfriend Lauv, pours her pain into music, as on her latest EP, Inner Monologue, Pt. 1.
Your latest single, “Anxiety”, which features Selena Gomez, is a raw depiction of mental-health issues. Why do you share your struggles?
A lot of people feel like a burden when they talk about their problems or like they have to suppress it. It’s important for people to know they’re not alone.
How do you manage your anxiety?
I went to therapy. Talking to friends really helps. Also rationalising with myself. I think, “OK, why do I feel like this?” and try to link it to something.
One of your most brutal lyrics in your new song “Happy” is “Sometimes I think I kill relationships for art … I pay my bills with it.” Do you really do that?
100 per cent! [Laughs] As an artist it’s easy to become creatively stagnant. Sometimes when that happens you do s----y things to people. I’ve definitely done things I’m not proud of, like started fights for no reason.
Has dating in the spotlight been hard for you?
Dating in general is hard enough, then you have the pressure of people watching. If you’re like me, you’re obsessed with love and want to tell the world about it. When you go through heartbreak and everybody knows about it, that can be scary.
What are your goals now?
My goal is to get through my first headlining tour without a breakdown.
The Inner Monologue Tour reaches Australia on Wed., Sep. 4. Tickets onsale now.