Even if you don’t know who Julia Michaels is, you most certainly would have heard one of her tracks by now. The pop superstar – who started her career at 16 – has written for some of the BIGGEST names in the industry. Think along the lines of Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, and Britney Spears. But it is her own tracks where the true Julia gets to shine, and where – don’t mind the play on words – her inner monologue gets to spill out.
As the crowd (who was lined up around the block) packed into the Enmore Theatre on Thursday night, the energy was palpable. First up was English singer-songwriter Rhys Lewis, who, we found out later in Michael’s set, was handpicked by her to open. That is a huge compliment coming from someone as prolific as Michaels, and Lewis definitely lived up to that hype. He serenaded the audience with only a guitar and keys, inciting singalongs AND phone-lit hand sways – the sign of every great performance.
The stage was then set up with gorgeous lit-up flowers, and a sign that read:
Julia Michaels – Judgement Free Zone.
Michaels then came out on stage to a huge applause, busting straight into ‘Pink’. Her set was filled to the brim with pure hits like ‘I Miss You’ (her collaboration with Clean Bandit), ‘Worst In Me’, ‘Heaven’, ‘Uh Huh’, and plenty more. The crowd that came to see her was prepared and ready, with Julia herself commenting how loud and proud they sung her lyrics back at her.
One of the best parts of the show was her emphasis on making the venue a safe space. This was a space where it was ok to cry, it was ok to dance, it was ok to be excited, and she would be all those things with us. A hallmark of Julia’s music is the fact that she is not afraid to talk about anxiety or depression, and she reassures the crowd that they are not alone, that they have her, and they have her music.
You could tell just how happy and excited she was to be there, and her set was a joyful mix of keytars, synchronised dancing, acoustic singalongs, and a surprising cover of CeeLo Green’s ‘Fuck You’.
For her encore, she started with ‘What A Time’, with Rhys Lewis filling in for Niall’s section, and then absolutely tore the house down with ‘Issues’ to close the set off. ‘Issues’ may have been her first hit, but it was a perfect ending to a night where she encouraged the crowd to not be ashamed that they may have ‘issues’, with this lyric encompassing almost her entire ethos:
‘Cause I got issues
But you got ’em too
So give ’em all to me
And I’ll give mine to you’