I’ve been doing a lot of interviews lately, and I’m almost always asked who my inspirations are. I never hesitate because I know exactly who inspires me. No matter what you do, I think it’s so important to take time to reflect on your inspirations.
As a songwriter, I definitely see some stylistic comparisons between my music and the songs of my biggest inspirations. Still, my music is original, not an exact replication of another songwriter’s style or sound. It’s such a special feeling when I write a new song that is 100 percent me and my story, but also sprinkled with a flavor of the songwriters I look up to. The awesome thing about this is that it happens naturally and without any thought. Those who inspire us become part of us, and that’s one of the most magical and mysterious things about songwriting.
I look up to so many pop and country songwriters. Still, there are three that definitely help shape me into the songwriter I am. They are Julia Michaels, Kelsea Ballerini, and Taylor Swift. I’m so excited to share the reasons why the three of them inspire me. Also, I created a Spotify playlist with songs by all the artists who influence my music.
First, Julia Michaels is hands down my biggest songwriting inspiration. She is truly outstanding and so talented. I’ve loved her work as a songwriter for years, even before she released “Issues” and established herself as a fantastic artist.
Julia is so honest in her music, and that’s what caught my attention from the start. She released “Issues” around the time I started to think about songwriting. As soon as I heard the song, I thought, maybe, I could write songs, too. I definitely still felt hesitant, though, and had so many toxic thoughts. What if I’m not good enough? What if no one likes my songs? What if my story isn’t worth sharing? Then, Julia released her mini album, Nervous System, and that changed my life. One of the songs on it, “Worst In Me,” instantly became one of my favorite songs of all time. I even recorded my own version of it.
In 2018, I met Julia before she opened up for Maroon 5 on their Red Pill Blues Tour. There’s truly nothing better than meeting those who inspire you, and I’m so grateful I got the chance to experience that. I definitely cried, and I’ll never forget that day.
Julia’s music is a constant reminder that if songwriters are authentic and honest, people will listen. Even though it’s difficult to open up, I learned from Julia that I have to if I want to get anywhere in the music industry. Julia helped me discover my passion for songwriting, and she’ll always be my favorite songwriter.
Second, Kelsea Ballerini is my favorite country songwriter. Where Julia inspired me to start songwriting, Kelsea inspired me to write country music. I’ve always loved pop music and never dreamed I’d love country as much as I do now. Kelsea is the one who showed me that country belongs in my heart, too.
The first time I heard “homecoming queen?,” everything changed for me. I bawled my eyes out and connected to a country song like I never have before. Even now, that song is my favorite one of Kelsea’s, and I’ll be recording my own version soon. It will be released at some point.
Also, Kelsea’s style greatly influences my country music. Aside from her amazing storytelling, a lot of Kelsea’s songs are country-pop, blending both genres seamlessly. As someone who loves pop music, I find it difficult to completely switch off the genre while writing country music. Kelsea proves that country-pop music is accepted and successful. Sure, some of her songs are more country than others—my songs fall on that spectrum as well—but the point is that country music is evolving and there’s room to blend genres and explore.
I find that my storytelling really shines in my country music, and like Julia, Kelsea’s honesty also encourages me to be vulnerable in my music. I hope that one day I can meet her and thank her for being the one to make me fall in love with country music.
Last but certainly not least, I greatly look up to Taylor Swift. I’ve been a Swifty for as long as I can remember. Taylor is a perfect example of a songwriter who writes more than one genre. As someone who writes both pop and country, sometimes, I wonder if I’ll have to pick between the two at some point. Then, I think about Taylor. She has proven to the world that songwriters don’t have to confine themselves to a single genre. I love both her country and pop music, and both are equally outstanding.
Also, one of the main reasons why I admire Taylor is her storytelling. Her lyrics are out of this world. I’ve learned so much about lyric writing by just reading through her lyrics. Taylor also isn’t afraid to experiment and vary song structure and instrumentation in her music. She shares her story in such a creative and imaginative way, and that’s something I strive to do.
Finally, it’s no secret that Taylor has been through a lot. It’s also no secret that she gets back up and shares her experiences through songwriting every time. I admire her so much for never giving up or backing down. I feel lucky to have someone like her to look up to because her commitment, perseverance, and determination inspire me every day.
All the Artists Who Inspire Me
So, Julia, Kelsea, and Taylor are the three songwriters who inspire me the most. Along with them, I’m inspired by many other pop and country artists. I created a Spotify playlist, Demi Michelle’s Inspirations, where you can listen to songs by all my inspirations. Also, there are songs on the playlist that I connect to the most and have messages that I’ve explored in my own writing. You can listen to the playlist here.
I enjoyed sharing why Julia, Kelsea, and Taylor inspire me. If you check out the playlist, I hope you find songs on there that you connect to as well. One of the ways I stay creative is listening to songs by my favorite songwriters and artists, so I’ll definitely be streaming the playlist to stay inspired.