meta-scriptHow Madison Beer Broke Free From Pressures Of Internet Fame & Created Her New Album 'Silence Between Songs' | GRAMMY.com
Madison Beer Press Photo
Madison Beer

Photo: Le3ay

interview

How Madison Beer Broke Free From Pressures Of Internet Fame & Created Her New Album 'Silence Between Songs'

Three years in the making, Madison Beer started her next chapter with "Home to Another One," the first single from her second album. The singer details her "freeing" journey to creating 'Silence Between Songs.'

GRAMMYs/Jun 6, 2023 - 09:04 pm

In today's viral era, internet personalities are not always hard to come by. But what isn't so easy to find is an internet personality with longevity — and Madison Beer has proven she's more than a fleeting viral star.

Beer started posting cover songs to YouTube in 2012, showing off her pop prowess and ethereal vocals at the age of just 13. She briefly went on the teen pop star trajectory after Justin Bieber signed her to Island Records that same year, but first found her true musical voice on her debut EP, 2018's As She Pleases. And once she took full control with her debut album, 2021's Life Support — co-writing and co-producing all 17 songs — she fully settled into Madison Beer the artist.

Now on the cusp of releasing her second album, Silence Between Songs (due Sept. 15 via Epic Records), Beer aims to expand on the mix of unflinching vulnerability and infectious melodies she's showcased since stepping into her own. She first gave a taste of that with "Home to Another One," an airy track that's a mix of Lana Del Rey and Tame Impala — two of her biggest inspirations, the former of whom even gave Beer feedback on the album. 

Del Rey's approval is one of many reasons Silence Between Songs is special to Beer, along with the fact that she once again co-wrote and co-produced every song. But perhaps the most important aspect of the project is the freedom she found through the nearly three-year process.

"As an artist, sometimes we're told that if we take a break someone will replace you, someone's gonna be coming up right behind you," Beer says. "I don't subscribe to that anymore, and I think that's been a really freeing thing."

Beer spoke to GRAMMY.com about how becoming more grounded in her personal life inspired the new music, and why, despite her online fame, she's "actually quite terrified of the internet at times." 

Congratulations on the release of "Home to Another One" and the album announcement. I would imagine it's nerve-wracking because one is never really sure how things will be perceived. What's it like finally starting to get everything out there?

"Home to Another One" I actually only just made six months ago, so it was one of the last additions to the album before I turned it in. It hasn't been too painful of a waiting process like the other ones. But I think the reveal of the album title was actually kind of the most intense for me. I've been sitting on it for three years, so to have it out there feels pretty surreal. But people's responses have been really positive and people feel excited, which I'm so grateful for. 

It is a bit of a new sound for me; it has a different energy from my other songs. But the real fans who listen to my interviews or see me on tour, they know my music catalog of things I listen to is quite electric or different; there's not just one genre I love. There's nothing I can do that would really surprise them, because they know I love all kinds of music.

Album titles, and titles in general, are always tricky. Tell me how you came up with yours, Silence Between Songs? 

I was really young when I first saw a poem or a book about this kind of idea. It was about missing someone, and it said "I miss you so much in between the time it takes for the next song to start." 

I always thought that was such a cool concept, and wanted to do something with that idea for my debut album. But when we started creating the album in 2020, the song "Silence Between Songs" was one of the first that we created, so it was the first title I had in mind. We worked off of that, and now three years later, it has proper meaning for me. I've grown so much since I started creating it, and the album is really about how you can grow by tuning the noise out. 

It's a testament to the title that you stuck with it for three years and nothing overtook it. How have you found that you settle down and tune the noise out? 

Definitely, the title has been non-negotiable for me since. But coming off of tour, it's hard to decompress and settle down. I actually did have a hard time coming back from my last tour, and coming back down to reality; you're just so crazy busy, and it's such a dopamine hit every day. It was a bit hard to settle back down, but it is in those moments that I learn the most about myself. 

Now I prioritize my alone time and down time; I let my body rest and don't feel pressured to go out and do things all the time. If I want to stay home and relax in bed the whole weekend, I'll do that. I'm trying to understand and not feel guilty for the downtime and rest times. 

As an artist, sometimes we're told that if we take a break someone will replace you, someone's gonna be coming up right behind you. I don't subscribe to that anymore, and I think that's been a really freeing thing.

Is that why you felt like you had to keep going? 

I think in the past it was that thing of whether people I worked with or people online; this notion who's always going to be willing to do more than you and do everything, and if you aren't you're gonna get replaced. That was a real fear I had for a long time. I don't let that happen anymore, though. I've been dropped from a label and I've been replaced, so the fear is real, and for a long time I was quite scared of that. But I'm not anymore. 

Do you ever worry about revealing too much or too little of yourself? As an artist, too much may seem like oversharing; yet too little, you're not being totally honest. Where's the balance for you, and how have you struck it? 

It's definitely interesting to discuss, because in this day and age of social media a lot of us have this pressure to be relatable and likable. But again, I don't put that pressure on myself, because I think that I'm not the kind of person who wakes up every single day and feels the need to make a video about these personal things. I'm down to do it when I feel like it, but I feel it's inauthentic to force yourself into doing it just to be liked. So I try to just post when I feel like it. I think my fans know me and my fans love me. I don't need to win over the hearts of the general public in order to get my music out there and to be received. I don't want to ever force myself into doing anything I don't want to do.

"Home to Another One" is a melancholy anthem with a breakdown. I'm wondering what the genesis of that song was?

Well I thought, "What is my pop sound?" In the past when I've made upbeat songs, they've kind of been maybe not so authentic to me, or songs that I wouldn't get in the car and want to listen to. So I thought, "What can I do that is poppy and fun, but still is me, and not selling out to make a song that's classified as upbeat?" 

When I heard it, vocal-wise, it reminded me so much of Lana Del Rey. Would that be fair to say?

Definitely. I'm a huge, huge fan of hers and I feel she's integrated in me in ways I can't even pinpoint.

When you're writing music, as a co-producer, do you know where your songs are going to go style-wise off the bat? What's your process?

I am a co-producer on all of the songs, which has been another awesome endeavor of mine. I'm lucky to work with my amazing producer Leroy Clampitt who's willing, and actually eager, to hear my opinion, and wants me to co-produce everything. 

It's not really calculated, I don't think. It just really flows. It's kind of a bummer that we didn't have a camera in the room when we were making it, because I was really involved in every single sound that you hear. My relationship with Leroy is really special because I can make a sound like mmmmm and he'll know what I mean. Everything is very meticulously planned, but it's not like, "I want this type of synth." We let the song flow. and build as we go.

A lot of artists are credited as co-writers on songs, but not many are credited as co-producers. Why was it important for you to be credited as a co-producer on your own tracks? 

Working with the same producer for five-plus years now, I feel like I can voice my opinion and it not be weird. Leroy was the one who was gracious enough to say he thought I should get a co-producer credit. He said, "You've done just as much as me." All of the ideas stem from me and us, and we do everything together.

Your debut album came out a couple years ago and you started working on this in 2020. Why such a long process?

It wasn't supposed to be. Time gets away from you, and I definitely went back in the studio many times to redo things and edit. We've had multiple test pressings of the vinyl, and many times I thought it was finished and then went back in. 

I don't know, I feel like this is kind of how I am. I'm never really overly satisfied. But my goal now is to try to get an album out within the next year or so after this one drops. I want to get into a groove of dropping music more frequently and not taking three-year gaps between all of them.

You have such a massive internet footprint, with 34 million followers on Instagram alone. Is a following like that a gift or a burden? How do you grapple with that in your mind knowing you can pick up your phone and post something for an audience of millions?

I've been steadily gaining flowers for 12 years, so it's something that didn't happen overnight for me. There's a big difference in the way I go about it now than a couple years ago. I don't force myself to be engaged all the time or posting every single day. 

I'm actually quite terrified of the internet at times. The way it moves can be really scary and I think we don't give each other room to make human errors. If I do state an opinion online or want to say something, It's not that I don't care what people say about it, but I know my intentions are. I'm never going to appeal to and please everyone, but I do know when I want to speak and share, it's authentic and it's coming from a good place.

Kesha Reveals The 10 Most Important Songs Of Her Career, From "Tik Tok" To "Eat The Acid"

Usher and Alicia Keys at Super Bowl 2024
(L-R) Usher and Alicia Keys during the Super Bowl LVIII halftime show.

Photo: L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

list

17 Love Songs That Have Won GRAMMYs: "I Will Always Love You," "Drunk In Love" & More

Over the GRAMMYs' 66-year history, artists from Frank Sinatra to Ed Sheeran have taken home golden gramophones for their heartfelt tunes. Take a look at some of the love songs that have won GRAMMYs.

GRAMMYs/Feb 14, 2024 - 09:42 pm

Editor's Note: This is an update to a story from 2017.

Without heart-bursting, world-shifting love songs, music wouldn't be the same. There are countless classic and chart-topping hits dedicated to love, and several of them have won GRAMMYs.

We're not looking at tunes that merely deal with shades of love or dwell in heartbreak. We're talking out-and-out, no-holds-barred musical expressions of affection — the kind of love that leaves you wobbly at the knees.

No matter how you're celebrating Valentine's Day (or not), take a look at 18 odes to that feel-good, mushy-gushy love that have taken home golden gramophones over the years.

Frank Sinatra, "Strangers In The Night"

Record Of The Year / Best Vocal Performance, Male, 1967

Ol' Blue Eyes offers but a glimmer of hope for the single crowd on Valentine's Day, gently ruminating about exchanging glances with a stranger and sharing love before the night is through.

Willie Nelson, "Always On My Mind"

Best Country Vocal Performance, Male, 1983

In this cover, Nelson sings to the woman in his life, lamenting over those small things he should have said and done, but never took the time. Don't find yourself in the same position this Valentine's Day.

Lionel Richie, "Truly"

Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, 1983

"Truly" embodies true dedication to a loved one, and it's delivered with sincerity from the king of '80s romantic pop — who gave life to the timeless love-song classics "Endless Love," "Still" and "Three Times A Lady."

Roy Orbison, "Oh, Pretty Woman"

Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, 1991

Orbison captures the essence of encountering a lovely woman for the first time, and offers helpful one-liners such as "No one could look as good as you" and "I couldn't help but see … you look as lovely as can be." Single men, take notes.

Whitney Houston, "I Will Always Love You"

Record Of The Year, Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, 1994

Houston passionately delivers a message of love, remembrance and forgiveness on her version of this song, which was written by country sweetheart Dolly Parton and first nominated for a GRAMMY in 1982.

Celine Dion, "My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme From Titanic)"  

Record Of The Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, 1999

This omnipresent theme song from the 1997 film Titanic was propelled to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 as the story of Jack and Rose (played by Leonardo DiCaprio and GRAMMY winner Kate Winslet) swept the country.

Shania Twain, "You're Still The One"

Best Female Country Vocal Performance, Best Country Song, 1999

Co-written with producer and then-husband Mutt Lange, Twain speaks of beating the odds with love and perseverance in lyrics such as, "I'm so glad we made it/Look how far we've come my baby," offering a fresh coat of optimism for couples of all ages.

Usher & Alicia Keys, "My Boo"

Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals, 2005

"There's always that one person that will always have your heart," sings Usher in this duet with Keys, taking the listener back to that special first love. The chemistry between the longtime friends makes this ode to “My Boo” even more heartfelt, and the love was still palpable even 20 years later when they performed it on the Super Bowl halftime show stage.

Bruno Mars, "Just The Way You Are"

Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, 2011

Dating advice from Bruno Mars: If you think someone is beautiful, you should tell them every day. Whether or not it got Mars a date for Valentine's Day, it did get him a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

Cee Lo Green & Melanie Fiona, "Fool For You" 

Best Traditional R&B Performance, 2012

It's a far cry from his previous GRAMMY-winning song, "F*** You," but "Fool For You" had us yearning for "that deep, that burning/ That amazing unconditional, inseparable love."

Justin Timberlake, "Pusher Love Girl" 

Best R&B Song, 2014

Timberlake is so high on the love drug he's "on the ceiling, baby." Timberlake co-wrote the track with James Fauntleroy, Jerome Harmon and Timbaland, and it's featured on his 2013 album The 20/20 Experience, which flew high to No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

Beyoncé & Jay-Z, "Drunk In Love"

Best R&B Performance / Best R&B Song, 2015

While "Drunk In Love" wasn't the first love song that won Beyoncé and Jay-Z a GRAMMY — they won two GRAMMYs for "Crazy In Love" in 2004 — it is certainly the sexiest. This quintessential 2010s bop from one of music's most formidable couples captures why their alliance set the world's hearts aflame (and so did their steamy GRAMMYs performance of it).

Ed Sheeran, "Thinking Out Loud"

Song Of The Year / Best Pop Solo Performance, 2016

Along with his abundant talent, Sheeran's boy-next-door charm is what rocketed him to the top of the pop ranks. And with swooning lyrics and a waltzing melody, "Thinking Out Loud" is proof that he's a modern-day monarch of the love song.

Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper, "Shallow"

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance / Best Song Written For Visual Media, 2019

A Star is Born's cachet has gone up and down with its various remakes, but the 2018 iteration was a smash hit. Not only is that thanks to moving performances from Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, but particularly thanks to their impassioned, belt-along duet "Shallow."

H.E.R. & Daniel Caesar, "Best Part"

Best R&B Performance, 2019

"If life is a movie/ Know you're the best part." Who among us besotted hasn't felt their emotions so widescreen, so thunderous? Clearly, H.E.R. and Daniel Caesar have — and they poured that feeling into the GRAMMY-winning ballad "Best Part."

Kacey Musgraves, "Butterflies"

Best Country Solo Performance, 2019

As Musgraves' Album Of The Year-winning LP Golden Hour shows, the country-pop star can zoom in or out at will, capturing numberless truths about the human experience. With its starry-eyed lyrics and swirling production, "Butterflies" perfectly encapsulates the flutter in your stomach that love can often spark.

Dan + Shay & Justin Bieber, "10,000 Hours"

Best Country Duo/Group Performance, 2021

When country hook-meisters Dan + Shay teamed up with pop phenom Justin Bieber, their love song powers were unstoppable. With more than 1 billion Spotify streams alone, "10,000 Hours" has become far more than an ode to just their respective wives; it's an anthem for any lover.

Lovesick Or Sick Of Love: Listen To GRAMMY.com's Valentine's Day Playlist Featuring Taylor Swift, Doja Cat, Playboi Carti, Olivia Rodrigo, FKA Twigs & More

Lana Del Rey, Tyler The Creator, Doja Cat
Lana Del Rey, Tyler, The Creator, and Doja Cat will headline the 2024 Coachella festival.

Photos (L to R): Kristy Sparow/Getty Images; Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Coachella; Scott Dudelson/Getty Images for Coachella

news

Official Coachella 2024 Lineup: Headliners Lana Del Rey, Tyler, The Creator And Doja Cat To Lead A Pack of Performers Including No Doubt & Others

GRAMMY.com digs into the official Coachella 2024 lineup — featuring Doja Cat’s return at the top of the bill with other California natives and more international acts than ever before heading to the Southern California desert April 12-14 and April 19-21.

GRAMMYs/Jan 17, 2024 - 12:32 am

The much-anticipated lineup for Coachella’s waitlisted 2024 festival was officially announced by producers Goldenvoice on Jan. 16. Festival headliners include GRAMMY-winning rapper and record producer Tyler, the Creator, GRAMMY-winning pop and hip-hop artist Doja Cat, and GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Lana Del Rey. These beloved acts lead a pack of top-tier talent sure to resonate well with a global audience. 

Coachella, which kicks off the 2024 festival season, will take place April 12-14 and April 19-21, returning to Indio’s Empire Polo Club in Southern California’s Colorado Desert. Let the good times roll.

Other notable performers include No Doubt, and 2024 GRAMMY nominees Jon Batiste, Ice Spice and Dom Dolla. Best Rap Song nominee Lil Uzi Vert also received top-billing among a plethora of rappers and hip-hop artists including Coi Leray and Lil Yachty.

A welcome sign of growing diversity among the acts, more international musicians than ever have appeared on the roster, including corridos tumbados musicians Peso Pluma, 2024 GRAMMY nominees for Best Música Mexicana Album, who also recently performed at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs. K-pop acts are also getting shine at Coachella 2024, with ATEEZ and LE SSARAFIM on the bill.

Since its inception in 1999, Coachella has evolved from a simple music festival to a cultural touchstone that encapsulates evolving trends in music, arts, fashion, and social expression. Coachella's lineup has become a barometer of pop culture — marking current and future music trends as well as the tone of the industry. 

Across multiple stages and tents, the festival is a sandbox showcase for experimental work. It’s a place for artists to debut new music, collaborate with other musicians during surprise guest performances and reunions, and make a statement. Beyonce’s culturally significant 2018 performance and celebration of Black college culture that inspired her Netflix documentary “Homecoming” and the unforgettable virtual resurrection of Tupac Shakur in 2012 via hologram serve as prime examples of this phenomena.

Catch the official line-up below and stay tuned for our takeaways from this year’s lineup announcement coming soon.

2024 Coachella Festival Lineup

California Love Is On Full Display

Californians dominate the 2024 Coachella lineup. Major headliners Tyler, the Creator and Doja Cat both hail from the Golden State and although Lana Del Rey (Friday, April 12 and 19) was born in Lake Placid, New York, she calls California her home and source of inspiration. Lana Del Rey is currently nominated in five categories at the 2024 GRAMMY Awards including Album Of The Year and Song Of The Year; Doja Cat is nominated in three categories including Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Rap Song.  

Surprise act No Doubt, which includes vocalist Gwen Stefani, guitarist Tom Dumont, bassist Tony Kanal, and drummer Adrian Young also count Southern California as their original home base. The group formed in 1986 in Anaheim and, over three decades, have netted two GRAMMY Awards and nine nominations. 

Rock Reunions Take Center Stage

Perhaps the biggest surprise act on the bill, No Doubt will reunite for their first major show in almost a decade since their last live performances together in 2015 — much to the delight of the band and Gwen Stefani’s dedicated fanbase. 

Other surprise reunions include new millennium rock band Blur, best known for punchy vocals and kick snare-emboldened tracks. The Britpop act will perform their first U.S. shows in nine years, receiving top billing for both Saturdays. Sublime, who have been performing live for years as Sublime with Rome will also perform on Saturday, though the singular billing begs the question of whether late founding band member Bradley Knowell will appear holographically á la Tupac in 2012. 

The 2024 Lineup Is An International Showcase

Global acts are taking over for one of the most diverse bills in Coachella history, filled with acts from Korea, Japan, Latin America, Africa, France and more.  

Furthering a breakout year in U.S. popularity, K-Pop boy band ATEEZ will perform on Friday. Girl group Atarashii Gakko! alongside superduo Yaosobi will represent Japan. A plethora of artists representing Latin America will perform both weekends: Coachella's lineup includes J Balvin (Columbia), Cimafunk (Cuba) and a roster of Mexican artists including Peso Pluma, Santa Fe Klan, Latin Mafia, Son Rompe Pera and Carin León. Nigerian natives Burna Boy and Tyla, both nominated for Best African Music Performance (one of three brand new categories at the 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards) are billed along with fellow Nigerian, Tems.

Electronic Music Makes A House Call

Highlighting a shift in the sands of music festival lineups over the last few years, electronic, dance, EDM, and trance artists account for a majority of the acts performing at Coachella in 2024. 

Legendary French performer Gesaffelstein, whose work has intertwined with artists like The Weeknd, adds a layer of dark, magnetic allure to the lineup while Justice, known for their GRAMMY-winning electronic beats, round out an electrifying experience. 

Celebrated acts like techno queen Charlotte de Witte and up-and-comers like Dom Dolla — a first-time GRAMMY nominee currently nominated for his remix of the Gorillaz track "New Gold" featuring Tame Impala — represent a nod to electronic music's recent and significant impact within the U.S.

Multiple Acts Return To The Desert

Coachella Valley is set to welcome back multiple seasoned acts in a return to the desert, including inventive linguist Tyler, the Creator, who surprised attendees with an impromptu appearance during Kali Uchis' set on the main stage in 2022. Doja Cat is also making a comeback, ascending to the top of the bill as a headliner after two years. 

J Balvin will bring the reggaeton party back to paradise following his Coachella premiere in 2019. Meanwhile, DJ Snake — the GRAMMY-nominated maestro of trap and electronic fusion will stage a return after first performing in 2016. Techno/house DJ and producer John Summitt will keep the beat alive after his house sound and pulsing rhythms created an electrifying performance 2022. The ever-transcendent and avant garde Grimes will stage a cosmic return to the Coachella stage after last performing in 2016. 

Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber performs on day three of Sziget Festival 2022 in Budapest, Hungary.

Photo: Joseph Okpako / WireImage / Getty Images

list

Justin Bieber's Biggest Hits: 12 Songs That Showcase His Pop Prowess And R&B Sensibilities

As Justin Bieber's cult favorite album 'Journals' turns 10, listen to a dozen of the superstar's best songs from his storied career.

GRAMMYs/Dec 21, 2023 - 06:53 pm

When Usher first introduced the world to a young Canadian teen named Justin Bieber in 2009, no one knew the gravity of the moment. With a catchy debut single, the young Bieber clearly had talent, but it was hard to predict just how big he would become.

In the nearly 15 years since the release of that first hit, "One Time," Bieber has become one of the biggest pop stars of his generation. He first captured hearts and ears as a teen heartthrob with infectious pop hits, then expertly folded in his R&B influences; he's also experimented with dance, hip-hop, and even an acclaimed holiday album. The results speak for themselves: 23 GRAMMY nominations with two wins, eight No.1 albums, eight No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits, and 89 million monthly Spotify listeners with multiple billion-stream tracks. 

This month celebrates the ten-year anniversary of Journals, an album with an interesting spot in Bieber's discography. By his lofty standards, it was one of Bieber's more modest commercial successes. That hasn't stopped it from becoming a cult favorite amongst his fans, beloved for representing Beiber's first full commitment to R&B in his music.

In celebration of Journals and Bieber's career as a whole, GRAMMY.com is looking back at some of the singer's most important and most captivating tracks. 

"One Time" (2009)

"One Time" was Bieber's very first single, and it conveys many of what would become signature traits throughout his career. It's a complete earworm, with dance-pop production from Tricky Stewart bolstering a strong melody. It finds Bieber already exploring romance, a topic he would come to revisit throughout his career. And while it peaked at No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100, it stuck around on the charts for almost all the rest of 2009 after its release that May. 

Perhaps most notably, it showed early on that Bieber had a natural charm that was infectious and impossible not to like. The music video for "One Time," in which Bieber uses his mentor Usher's house for a party, is goofy fun and a vehicle to Bieber's personality. That magnetism continues to play a key part in Bieber's career — and it was there from the start.

"Baby" (2010)

xIf there is one song that has become synonymous with Bieber's initial rise to fame, it's "Baby." While not his first single, "Baby" was his first major success in both charts and reception. "Baby" debuted at No. 5 on the Hot 100, But it almost instantly became a cultural moment; it was almost impossible to not hear Bieber croon that catchy hook everywhere — and even more impossible to not sing along.. 

"Baby" was also proof that Bieber had star potential. Not only did he have a writing credit on the song, but within three years, it was certified 12x platinum by the RIAA.

"Mistletoe" (2011)

Bieber followed his star-making My World 2.0 with a Christmas album, 2011's Under The Mistletoe. It's a storied tradition for pop stars to tackle the holiday season, and Bieber did so with incredible success. A snap-along, guitar-plucked ballad, "Mistletoe" is another early ballad from Bieber, a peek at how thoughtful and sensitive he can be given room to explore his feelings.

"Mistletoe" also helped Bieber earn more historic accolades early in his career. Off the strength of its lead single, Under The Mistletoe made Bieber the only male artist to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with a Christmas album.

"Right Here" (2012)

After Under the Mistletoe hinted at his R&B sensibilities, Bieber continued to show his genre-spanning prowess with his next album, 2012's Believe. While the smoky lead single "Boyfriend" served as his biggest hit until that point,the silky smooth track "Right Here" is one of his best album cuts. Perhaps most notably, it serves as the first (and to date, only) musical collaboration between Bieber and Drake — and though it wasn't a single, it was an important team-up in pop music history. 

Drake was coming off of 2011's Take Care that solidified him a superstar, and Believe was doing the same thing for Bieber at the time. Both would go on to have hugely successful and influential careers, making "Right Here" a special monument to the rise of these two men.

"Recovery" (2013)

For the follow-up to Believe, Bieber embraced the rising popularity of streaming and digital releases. The compilation album Journals was initially released song by song, once a week over the fall and early winter of 2013. Leaning further into an R&B sound, Journals also saw Bieber step into an executive producer role, taking more control over the direction of his music. "Recovery" exemplifies his fine-tuning of R&B and pop together, with yet another winning hook and a lyrical focus on forgiveness and growth.

For all of the great production Bieber employs, his songs have always had a strong core that shine just as bright acoustically. "Recovery" is a good example of this, with Bieber's voice and the acoustic guitar threaded throughout is an easily trackable core for the production to build on.

"Confident" (2013)

"Confident" is perhaps the peak of Journals, a perfecting of the sound Bieber had been building towards over the previous two years. For "Confident," he enlisted an R&B specialist in producer Soundz, who previously worked with Ciara, Usher, and Rihanna. 

The song incorporates more hip-hop adjacent beats as well, another sign of Bieber refusing to stay complacent. He also brought in Chance The Rapper months after Acid Rap made Chance one of the hottest names in hip-hop — a smart choice professionally, but also personally, as the two have teamed on several songs since.

"Sorry" (2015)

If Journals was Bieber finding more of himself as an artist, 2015's Purpose is the moment he fully came into his own. That was immediately apparent upon the release of lead single "What Do You Mean?," which shot to the top of the Hot 100 — Bieber's first No. 1, but certainly not his last. 

Second single "Sorry" not only continued that success, also hitting No. 1, but it became one of his biggest hits to date. It remains one of Bieber's danciest hits, both thanks to its EDM-driven production and its wildly popular music video that now tallies more than 3.7 billion views as of press time.

On the whole, Purpose is Bieber having some of the most fun he's had in his entire catalog, with a whole track list of songs that fans will hum for days on end — with "Sorry" likely at the forefront.

"Love Yourself" (2015)

Besides being another artistic step forward, Purpose also garnered Bieber more recognition from the GRAMMYs. After a win in 2016 for Best Dance/Electronic Recording for his work on Jack Ü's "Where Are Ü Now," Purpose was nominated for Album Of The Year in 2017 — a first for Bieber. Alongside that nomination came another first, a Song Of The Year nod for "Love Yourself," the album's third single and a breakup song to end all breakup songs. 

The epitome of "kill them with kindness," Bieber sings this just like a love song. But don't let the sweet acoustic melody fool you — the lyrics are blistering (for one, "My mama don't like you and she likes everyone.") As his third consecutive No. 1 single, "Love Yourself" elevated Bieber even further as a pop star.

"All Around Me" (2020)

A lot changed for Bieber in the five years between Purpose and its aptly titled follow-up, Changes — perhaps the biggest of those changes was his 2018 marriage to Hailey Baldwin. While the singer had plenty of great love ballads in his catalog by then, marriage took Bieber to the next level in his romantic writing. 

Case in point, Changes opens with "All Around Me," an ode to Hailey. With a light touch on production from Poo Bear, the track gives Bieber room to show off vocally. 

Bieber has always been earnest in his work, and "All Around Me" is especially open. When he sings of finally being able to fully open himself up to someone, it's easy to believe. As an opening track, it serves as a perfect introduction to the older, more mature Bieber after his five-year album hiatus. 

"Yummy" (2020)

While Changes is undoubtedly a more subdued, grounded thematic work for Bieber, some of his best work has always come from him having fun. Changes doesn't entirely abandon that, with lead single "Yummy" a welcome sign Bieber still knows how to let loose. The track is silky smooth, letting Bieber flex his R&B prowess to the fullest extent. 

"Yummy" also reaffirmed Bieber's staying power after his long hiatus. It peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, along with his foray into country music with 2019's Dan + Shay collaboration "10,000 Hours" (which Bieber won his second GRAMMY), it showed that he had much more to give musically.

"Lifetime" (2021)

Bieber wasted no time once getting back in the studio after Changes, with his most recent album Justice dropping just a year later. It's his most collaborative work to date, with a plethora of guest stars, writers and producers lending a hand on the massive 25-song project — which makes a track like "Lifetime," with no guest appearance and minimal production, stand out even more. 

In a career full of love songs, "Lifetime" is perhaps the most touching. Again inspired by his wife, it's an ode to real commitment and dedication.

Besides being incredibly sweet, "Lifetime" is one of Bieber's most powerful vocal performances. The emotion and range he displays is breathtaking, and there's a sincerity that comes through more than any other Bieber track. Over a decade into his career, Bieber continues to grow and surprise with his artistry. 

"Peaches" (2021)

It's not a Justin Bieber album without a megahit, and Justice's offering in that regard is "Peaches." The track blends the R&B elements Bieber has embraced over the years with the pop sensibilities he first broke out with, creating a track that epitomizes both styles. It's a celebration of the good things in life, and that's reflected in both the wavy melody and its playful lyrics.

"Peaches" became yet another No. 1 track for Bieber, his first solo Hot 100 hit since "Love Yourself."  It also earned him four GRAMMY Nominations in 2022 — Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Best R&B Performance, and Best Music Video — alongside an Album Of The Year nomination for Justice. Between the positive vibes of the song and its widespread acclaim, "Peaches" is a testament to how far Bieber has come, and how much more he has to give.

Justin Bieber's Sonic Evolution: How He Transformed From Bubblegum Pop Heartthrob To Mature, Genre-Melding Artist

Julia Michaels
Julia Michaels attends the 'Wish' UK premiere

Photo: Belinda Jiao / Getty Images

news

Behind Julia Michaels' Hits: From Working With Britney & Bieber, To Writing For 'Wish'

GRAMMY-nominated songwriter and artist Julia Michaels has been trusted to turn pop stars' revelatory moments into song. Michaels spoke to GRAMMY.com about creating authentic songs and the stories behind some of her biggest hits.

GRAMMYs/Dec 18, 2023 - 02:51 pm

Julia Michaels landed her first major songwriting gig at just 18 years old. 

Fresh out of school, she’d cold pitched a little company named Walt Disney with a song she thought would suit an upcoming series. That song went on to soundtrack a popular Disney Channel show called "Austin & Ally."

Michaels quickly developed a reputation for her quick work and therapeutic approach to songwriting, and, in her early 20s, was transforming pop music via her confessional and slightly quirky perspective. The L.A.-based artist was soon writing with pop’s A-listers — from Britney Spears to Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran, producing songs that gave the world insight into the contours of the biggest star’s internal worlds. 

"I'm grateful that I've been able to work with artists that allow the space for vulnerability and for authenticity, and for us to be able to speak openly and honestly about things we're going through," Michaels tells GRAMMY.com.

With a knack for emotional precision and complexity, Michaels has been trusted to transmute icons' revelatory moments into song: post-divorce comeback anthems, breakup bangers, even apologies. You’d be hard-pressed to find a songwriter better able to spin pain into a punchline than Michaels.

It’s one of many reasons Disney tapped her to score Wish, a recently-released mega musical feature that’s been chosen by the Studio to celebrate their 100th anniversary. Her idiosyncratic and confessional style lends a fresh perspective to protagonist Asha, while the songs remain rose-colored, dreamy, heart-lurching and classically Disney.

At age 30, Michaels is the youngest ever songwriter to score an entire Disney feature. But that's not her only major accolade: Michaels has been nominated for three GRAMMY Awards, most recently for Marren Morris' "Circles Around This Town" — which was given the nod for Best Country Song at the 2023 GRAMMYs. At the 60th GRAMMY Awards, Michaels was nominated for Best New Artist.

The phenom spoke with GRAMMY.com about some of the hits that made her one of the industry's most in-demand writers — and led to her biggest gig yet.  

"Sorry" - Justin Bieber (2015)

I had met a producer named Josh Goodwin, and he had asked for us to write some songs and see what we could come up with.  We had written two songs, and one of them I don't think ever saw the light of day. The other was "Sorry." 

"Used To Love You" - Gwen Stefani (2016)

I was asked to do some sessions with Gwen and my friend Justin Tranter. It was my first session with her but not his, so they had already known each other.

I wasn't entirely sure what I was gonna walk into or what she would feel comfortable talking to me about. And she was just so open and so lovely and vulnerable. She had these journal entries; in the midst of all of these thoughts and feelings she’d written down she had said: “I don't know why I cried, but I think it's because I remembered for the first time since I hated you that I used to love you.” She kept on reading from her journal and I stopped her and said "No, no, no, that’s a song." So we wrote it and it was just beautiful, she was very happy with it.

Every session is different, every artist is different, everybody writes differently. So sometimes I'm not sure what role I need to take that day. Gwen was very much in control of her narrative and vision, and what she wanted to talk about, so I just followed her footsteps.

I'm not really one for small talk. I think that's why I am still here. I like to get down to the heart of somebody and I know that takes a lot of trust. I'm grateful that I've been able to work with artists that allow the space for vulnerability and for authenticity, and for us to be able to speak openly and honestly about things we're going through.

I don't really have any qualms with walking in a room and being like, "Okay, but how are you really doing?" Not the L.A. version of how are you doing. Like no, how are you actually doing?

"Slumber Party" feat. Tinashe - Britney Spears (2016)

I met her [Britney] after writing a song that she liked, and then we started writing together. 

That was pretty surreal. I don't really fangirl a lot; I've been in enough rooms with people to know that we all laugh the same and cry the same and bleed the same. But then I remember hearing Britney sing this into the microphone for the first time and I just began melting into the floor, in shock and awe. 

I’d done something like eight songs for the album, and writing with her was so special. She has pop melodies wholly ingrained in who she is, so everything that she's saying just sounds like the perfect pop song. She also had her own narratives and she knew what she wanted to write about. We would literally just pull the microphone up to her face so she could sing melodies and we would write songs according to all the melodies and just go from there.

I remember just writing all the time and trying to find a sound that she felt suited her best. A I knew she wanted to do things that still had some vulnerability, but she's Britney Spears — she wanted to have a really fun pop record also. So we tried to cater to that as much as we could.

"This Wish" (2023)

This was the first song I wrote for Wish and it was the first song to come out for the movie. I was called in 2020 by [Walt Disney Music President] Tom McDougall and he asked me if I would like to try to write a song for a new movie, but didn't tell me that it was for the 100th anniversary of Disney's animation movies. Off of this little sort of blurb that he had sent me, I wrote this song about hope and being courageous, and taking a chance and being brave. I thought that was just such a beautiful message.

If he had told me that it was the 100th anniversary, I probably would have been really stressed out. I'm a Disney fan. I've been a Disney fan since I was a kid; I love Disney songs. And so there was already that added pressure to make something that's going to stand the test of time. But I also think that because I grew up with [Disney] it is probably in my psyche more than I even know. And so I wanted to make a song that felt really classic and really powerful and really beautiful, but also still sounded like something that I would write.

How Ilsey Transformed From Hit Songwriter To Artist On 'From The Valley': "I Have The Freedom To Say What I Want"