By Claire Atkinson NYPost.com 11/20/15
For all the changes sweeping the music industry, pop music remains a hit-driven business, and increasingly those hits are coming from the same songwriting duo.
Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter are responsible for a stunning five Top 40 hits this year, including four they penned together: Justin Bieber’s “Sorry,” Selena Gomez’s “Good For You,” Gwen Stefani’s “Used to Love You” and Hailee Steinfeld’s “Love Myself.”
In just 12 months, Tranter, 35, and Michaels, 22, have moved from relative obscurity to become two of the most in-demand songwriters around.
Together, the duo have written songs that have notched 2.26 million digital downloads, equaling some 400 million streams.
Record companies still depend on a steady stream of hits to propel album sales, and they turn to tunesmiths like Tranter and Michaels to deliver.
The pair have become so adept at translating heartbreak into hits that they were called upon by both Bieber and Gomez, themselves exes who dated off and on for years.
Tranter and Michaels worked separately before Warner Chappell’s co-head of A&R, Katie Vinten, put them together.
Their biggest success so far is Bieber’s “Sorry,” which charted just behind No. 1 Adele’s “Hello” on the Billboard Hot 100, and this week is at No. 3.
The two are teaming up to work on a new album for Britney Spears and are also jamming with John Legend.
“This has been our most successful year times 100,” Tranter told The Post.
Although they are two of the most valuable songsmiths today, he said it takes time for a hit to play out and deliver a big payday. In the meantime, the pair is “focusing on the creative.”
He was in a failed rock band when Vinten approached him about writing for others. The first time he met Michaels, he said, she hid in a closet because of embarrassment over sharing relationship dramas for song material. But then she emerged.
“She kicks the door open and has this insane melody with my title plugged into it,” he said.