So how did Selena Gomez get involved from there?
Andrew Watt has a friendship with Selena. And I think that when she had heard that Andrew was a writer on this song, it sparked in her. I’m not exactly sure how the song got to her directly, but I’m guessing that had a little bit to do with it. When she heard it, she knew. She heard the writers on the song, and I think at that time in her life, the song spoke to her.
Some people see the song as a statement to Justin Bieber because Selena’s singing it. Was that part of the conversation? You had a song already written, but I see Selena was credited as a songwriter, too.
Right, well, she allows people to really tap into [her] life. As songwriters, we have an idea of what the artist is going through, and sometimes we utilize that as an inspiration to try and connect with the artist. And a lot of the time, we’re off, and it’s not something that they want to say or they feel at the moment. And there’s the few times that we are able to nail it.
Selena and Justin both are two of the biggest, top-selling artists in the world, and so when we write a song that they feel like they can connect with, that’s the most rewarding feeling.
I had the opportunity to go into the studio with her while she was recording it, and I feel like I could connect with her in so many different ways—she’s just an old soul, an old beautiful soul with a baby face and has so much to say.
We actually started writing another song together while we were in the studio with Andrew Watt and I was really impressed by her collaboration, her ideas, how open she was and willing to tap into a place that is scary with having the power that she has over so many people—to really be honest with her lyrics.
I can’t necessarily say that this is the song directed at Justin, but I do think this is a song for her just displaying her strength as a woman in this industry and that particular place that she is in her life. She’s gone through a lot of different challenges. And it’s natural for any human being at her age to be going through the things she’s been going through, but the difference is she’s caught under a microscope. She can be shamed for her struggles. But she’s really doing an incredible job at highlighting some of the battles she faces and utilizing them as strengths.
You also mentioned you’re working on another song with Selena. There’s been a lot of teasing on her Instagram that she’s coming out with new music soon. Anything more you can share about that?
I’m sure that she’s going to be putting out a record. I don’t know when, I don’t know the details of that. I’m so outside of the machine of the industry, I just go to the sessions and write the songs when I get told to. But I do know that she’s writing and I know that she writes a lot. It seems like it’s the start of [something]. She usually, based on how her releases go, she’ll follow up with more music of her own.
What’s her work style when you guys are in a songwriting session?
She’s extremely collaborative and she has great ideas. We’ll just talk. I’ve only had the chance to get in with her once, [but] I’m sure we’ll be working together, hopefully, in the future. But she comes up with tons of ideas and concepts, and she’s a really great writer. It just flows naturally, and we just write on the guitar. She’s a dream artist to work with based on the risks she’s willing to take and the things she’s willing to say. She’s not afraid of what the public is portraying. This is just my takeaway, but it seems like she’s fearless. She’ll say anything that she’s feeling and that to me—[I feel] like a musical therapist in a sense where I am able to tap into those places and find things to write about and tap into those particular emotions.