The Julia Michaels experiment is working. Michaels, who spent years as a songwriter who crafted hits for many much-bigger names, has only been easing herself into the role of a pop star herself for a little more than a year. But after releasing a debut album last year, Michaels has a few hits to her own name, a bunch of collaborations and one-offs, and a Best New Artist Grammy nomination. Today, she’s shared “Jump,” the first single from her as-yet-untitled debut album, and it’s a good one.
“Jump” started its life as a Michaels voice-note demo. It’s now a slick, streamlined pop song with a slow-bubbling laser-focused beat. Trippie Redd, the Ohio sing-rapper who came up in the SoundCloud-rap underground, adds a verse. And even though Trippie Redd came up in pop music in a way that’s basically opposite to what Michaels did — outsider rather than insider — his voice and hers work nicely together. This is a song made by people who know what they’re doing.
But even though “Jump” is clearly created with pop success in mind, the song hits on something deeper. It’s a song about convincing yourself that it’s OK to start something new with someone new, getting over the feelings of dread and doom that past relationships gone bad may have given you. That seems to be Michaels’ great strength — rendering intense emotions in the form of sleek pop music. Listen to it below.
“Jump” is out now at iTunes.