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Julia Michaels Explains Why Tattoos Are Like Songs

It’s been seven years in the making, but songwriter Julia Michaels finally added the title ‘singer’ to her sresume in 2017. The famed songwriter created a name for herself outside of the recording booth with her debut single “Issues” in January, performing the emotional song at the 2017 iHeartRadio MMVAs and cementing herself as one of the most exciting new artists of the year.

Michaels followed up the release of “Issues” with her flirty “Uh Huh,” dropping an intimate and joyful video for the pop jam in July (watch here). Later that month, Michaels dropped her debut EP Nervous System, which included her two lead singles as well as the emotional heartbreaker “Worst In Me.”

Now Michaels is speaking with Vevo about her journey as an artist and why she thinks tattoos are just like songs in the new short documentary Becoming Julia Michaels.

In the new videos, Michael’s spends time with her friend and tattoo artist London at the Black Lantern tattoo parlor where she received her latest tattoo, the words ‘Kiss Here’ on her back. “My tattoos reflect me as a person. Me as a musician, me as someone who loves to be connected to people, me trying to make my voice heard,” says Michaels in the opening shot of the short doc.

New new 🙂 thanks @londonreese #kisshere

A post shared by Julia Michaels (@imjmichaels) on

“I think creativity is so magical. I kind of see tattooing as like a songwriting thing,” says Michaels. “You’re trusting someone to put something so permanent on your body and with songwriting it’s the same. You’re having somebody come in and you have to trust this person completely to help you articulate words into a song and then there’s a trust there.”

In the new video out today, Michaels explains the meaning behind some of her most prominent tattoos, including the heart on her forearm and the faceless woman on the back of her arm, which Michaels says that at the time she got it done described her anonymity in the music industry.

Michaels says that it’s one of her newest tattoos that best describes her. Inking the words back in the spring, Michaels debuted her tattoo ‘Speak up’ on her chest as a reminder to always speak up for herself. “I’ve always kind of made myself feel really small,” says Michaels. “I think now more than ever I have the opportunity to have an opinion and a voice and that I should speak up.”

Since making the transition from songwriter to singer-songwriter, Michaels says she feels the most confident she ever has, with the effects of her transition to the stage helping quiet her anxiety. “I used to have panic attacks almost every day last year. It was really hard,” says Michaels. “I’ve had maybe one or two this year. That’s it.”

“For a very long time I’ve denied myself something that I really wanted now that I’ve done the thing that scares me most I’m okay,” says Michaels.