Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Julia Michaels has recently dropped her long-awaited debut album entitled Not in Chronological Order. The whirlwind which has become her life continues now as a full-fledged storm of creativity. From heartfelt ballads to gentle atmospheric layers and fragile yet charismatic vocals, the 10-song album chronicles the artist’s sensibilities and dexterous talent. Having co-written a series of titles that have charted on the Billboard Hot 100 list, including her breakout single “Issues” and fan favorites like Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and Selena Gomez’ “Lose You to Love Me”, Michaels has displayed her lyrical mastery and eclectic craft across multiple genres within the industry.

What is your go-to look for a casual day?
My style is very eclectic. I don’t really lean one way or another. One day I’ll wear a pretty Emilio Pucci caftan with Air Force Ones and my Olympia Le-Tan book purse. I’ll put on all my nice jewelry and a little lipstick. Other days I’ll wear my Balenciaga hoodie, Studio Nicholson cropped trousers, Vans, and my black and gold Burberry crossbody bag. I love a good pair of jeans and a vintage T-shirt from Iguanas, American Vintage, or the Rose Bowl Flea Market. But I also love a good dress!

What are some of your favorite scents or perfumes? Do you lean more toward natural fragrances or do you prefer designer blends? I’ve worn Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb since I was 17 years old. It’s my absolute go-to and I’ll honestly probably wear it forever! When I want to switch it up, I use Pipe Bomb by Blackbird or Tokyo Milk by Margot Elena.

When it comes to jewelry, are you more of a silver or gold kind of woman? Do you wear any unique pieces that hold any sentimental value? I absolutely love a good diamond and I’m a huge fan of mixing metals. My favorite jewelry designers at the moment are David Yurman, Messika, and OMEGA. My favorite piece is a 4-carat diamond ring set in rose gold that I had custom made as this sort of, hey, you’ve worked really hard, here’s a gift for yourself. I also have jewelry commemorations from events I’ve done or pivotal moments in my life.

What is your earliest memory of fashion while growing up? Who did you look to for advice or inspiration when creating your own sense of style?
My earliest memory of fashion was probably Britney Spears. The Oops I Did it Again tour was my first concert and of course, who can forget Britney in a red leather suit. In my early teenage years, artists like Fiona Apple and Alanis Morissette were big style icons for me, but I also loved 1950s fashion. Grace Kelly, Lauren Bacall, and Audrey Hepburn are probably more influential to me now as an adult than they were when I was a teenager. Their styles were so elegant and beautiful, chic and poised. If Edith Head were still alive, I wouldn’t have anyone else dress me.

During the pandemic, did the isolation help or harm your creative
process? Were you able to keep your creative fire ablaze or did you
find it to be a challenge?

I was actually super productive during the pandemic. I was able to make an entire album while the world was shut down. I’m grateful tohave had that creative outlet and nurturing friends to get me through it. If I didn’t have them or my creativity, it probably would have been a different story. I had absolutely nothing to do but create and I tried to stretch my mind in as many different directions as I could. I actually didn’t realize how cluttered my mind was until I didn’t have places to be or things to do. Boredom was a huge creativity starter

When did you decide to step in front of the mic and take your craft from songwriter to chanteuse? Was becoming a singer always the goal? I was 23 years old when it all changed. I had been writing for other artists since I was around 18 or 19 and I think every songwriter goes through this do I or don’t I moment in their lives. I wrote “Issues” at a writing camp and I just thought, well, this is way too personal to give up so I won’t. That thought had never crossed my mind before. Although I love being an artist and connecting to tons of people all over the world, I still love writing with and for other people.

Have you always been comfortable on stage or has being in the spotlight become easier with time?
There will always be criticism and with that comes fear, insecurity, and anxiety. There’s the fear of not being good enough, insecurities about others being better, and anxiety that you’re going to get on stage or put out music and people are going to tear you down. Luckily, I have garnered a wonderful fanbase called GEMS. We have this spoken, but really unspoken bond. They know that they can come to the show and confide in me and the music and vice versa. It is a community of no judgement. You can come cry and scream and laugh and be in your feelings and no one is going to look at you like you’re crazy for wanting to let go of the everyday bullshit. I’ve grown a lot as a performer because of them and honestly, I don’t know if I would still be doing it if it weren’t for them instilling confidence in me. They have been an incredible support system.

Your broad understanding of human emotion and ability to convey them in word form is astounding. Were you formally trained as a writer?
Well thank you, I appreciate that. I didn’t go to school for music. I don’t know music theory and I couldn’t tell you what key a song is in. I know about four chords on the piano. I don’t write anything down and I don’t voice memo anything either. I do as much as I can based on how I feel, personal experience, instinct, and emotion. I was home-schooled growing up, so I think because of that I became really observant and introspective. I think that just carried over into the way that I write. I just always try to do everything authentically and honestly, and hope it resonates with people.

When did you first realize that you were a musical being? Was it a natural talent or a skill you learned?
When I was growing up, I was always writing poetry. I had an interesting family life growing up, so words were my safe space. I would write poems about anything and everything. When I was around 12 years old, my mom got me a piano and I would just play by ear to see what sounded good and turn my poems into songs. A few years ago, I started experimenting with not writing anything down. I felt like it felt the most conversational and more subconscious if I didn’t. It felt freer to me and I wasn’t getting stuck on the admin of rolling with a thought and then writing it down and losing that thought or losing momentum. A lot of Inner Monologue Part 1 and Inner Monologue Part 2 was freestyled on the mic. It’s always fun to see where your mind can take you and what you can create out of nothing.