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Wish songwriter Julia Michaels explains what makes a perfect Disney song

julia michaels at the wish premiere
Wish songwriter on what makes perfect Disney songMike Marsland - Getty Images

Wish songwriter Julia Michaels has explained what makes a perfect song for a Disney film.

Michaels has previously written songs for Britney Spears, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Nick Jonas, Dua Lipa, and many more. Now, she's written every song for the latest film from the House of Mouse, for which actors including Chris Pine and Ariana DeBose provide the vocals.

Speaking exclusively to Digital Spy, Michaels talked about the process — and the pressure — of trying to make songs that will stand up alongside the studio's canon of tunes.

julia michaels at the wish premiere
Mike Marsland - Getty Images

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"For me, what makes Disney songs so special is that they have so much heart, emotion and vulnerability," she said. "And the fact they can do it in a way that is appealing to everybody, not just kids, it's appealing to adults as well.

"That's also so much pressure. Disney's music is so embedded in their legacy, the people that have created Disney songs, the expectations to live out to, the people that have come before me…"

"I definitely went through a lot of existential crises through this film, but I was so grateful to be surrounded by people that were so supportive and believed in me during this process," she added.

ariana debose as asha, alan tudyk as valentino, wish
Disney

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In terms of the more technical process of crafting songs for characters in a film versus crafting a pop song for a famous performer, Michaels explained: "I think the big difference is giving thoughts and feelings and personality to people that aren't real.

"I think that was so wild, and I tried my very best to incorporate some of the classic feel of Disney but also keep it really modern. I was told very early on to be myself in these songs, and so my favourite thing to do with music is play with cadences, play with time signatures, and just try to make it as true to the story as I possibly could."

Wish is playing in cinemas from today (November 24).

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