"That song just poured out of us ... the day we met," JP Saxe says of his Julia Michaels collab "If The World Was Ending"

By Tomás Mier
October 17, 2019 01:10 PM
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Talk about the law of attraction!

Julia Michaels and JP Saxe just teamed up for the first time to release the beautifully stripped piano ballad “If The World Was Ending” — which features melancholic melodies and lovesick lyrics — on Thursday.

The two musicians met in a serendipitous way. Michaels reveals that a friend recommended Saxe’s standout track “25 in Barcelona,” leading her to play the song on repeat “just over and over and over.”

“I was like, I have to work with this guy,” she tells PEOPLE. “I researched the rest of his music and found out that he wrote a lot of it by himself, and I just was like, ‘Holy s—, he’s amazing.’”

Michaels, 25, went on to share a screenshot of herself listening to Saxe’s tracks on social media at the same time Saxe, 26, was on the road with some friends.

“Fifteen minutes before I got the notification that ‘Julie Michaels has tagged you in a post,’ I was listening to her music and talking with my friends about how Julia was one of my favorite artists and songwriters,” Saxe tells PEOPLE. “So when I saw she posted my song, I was like, ‘What is going on?’ I just thanked her, and then she said she wanted to write and I was like, ‘Stop it, you can’t say things like that to me!’”

And so “If The World Was Ending” was born.

Julia Michaels and JP Saxe
Kimberly White/Getty; Noam Galai/Getty

“That session was one of the most magical in my life,” Saxe says of writing the track with Michaels. “We sat down at the piano, and that song just poured out of us. We wrote it and recorded it, essentially, the day we met.”

Accompanied by an apocalypse-themed music video, “If The World Was Ending” follows two lovers who, amidst the turmoil, ask each other, “If the world was ending, you’d come over, right?”

The track came about just days after several earthquakes hit Southern California in early July. “What A Time” singer Michaels says the track helped her put things into perspective.

Sony Music

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“If s— were to hit the fan and things were to fall apart tomorrow, who would I would I want to be beside?” she says. “You start to think about the little things and why you wouldn’t be talking to somebody that you love. You never f—ing know what tomorrow’s gonna be, and it is so f—ing stupid when you don’t talk to somebody that you love.”

But Saxe, with a laugh, was quick to clarify: “I don’t think we’re suggesting anybody text their exes. But maybe we’re suggesting that sometimes the reasons that keep us from the people we really love, put into context, just start feeling small.”

Saxe adds: “In the grand scheme of things, choosing your love for somebody over the petty reasons you don’t talk to someone is a meaningful consideration.”

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While their song explores what could happen in a world-ending event, both Michaels and Saxe are sure they wouldn’t survive if an apocalypse were to actually happen.

“I’m totally f—ed,” Saxe says, as the t. “Like if Postmates isn’t working, I don’t know how I’d survive. I don’t think in the post-apocalyptic skillset ‘sensitive songwriting’ is one of them.”

“My fight or flight instinct would not kick in,” Michaels adds, laughing.

“If The World Was Ending” is out now.