Linkin Park’s “Heavy” co-writer Julia Michaels remembers “really funny,” “really warm” Chester Bennington

ABC/Randy HolmesLinkin Park‘s album One More Light, released just two months before frontman Chester Bennington‘s death, was a unique project for the band for a couple reasons: in addition to taking a much more pop-oriented direction, they also reached out to outside co-writers for the first time. One of those was Julia Michaels, who co-wrote the single “Heavy.”  Now, she’s remembering LP’s late frontman.

“I’ve listened to Linkin Park for years,” Michaels, who’s worked with Bleachers, Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato, tells Billboard. “When I was growing up, my brother was such a huge fan of theirs, so it was always around in my house.”

“Heavy,” which features vocals from pop singer Kiiara, was written by Bennington, vocalist and producer Mike Shinoda, guitarist Brad Delson, Michaels and her writing partner Justin Tranter. The track was a deeply personal one for Bennington, who wanted to write a song about being negatively affected by personal issues.

“[Bennington] was like, ‘I wanna write a song about how sometimes you get really weighed down by all your problems, and sometimes it’s really hard to get out of that,'” Michaels explains. “I was like, ‘Yeah, let’s do that.’ And we wrote the song in about two hours.”

Michaels remembers Bennington being “really funny” and “really warm” while they were working together. But as much fun as she had writing “Heavy” with Bennington and Linkin Park, Michaels says it’s now difficult to listen to it, given Bennington’s suicide.

“They were so excited about putting out new music, and just so happy and just so lovely,” she says. “So it’s really strange that these circumstances have happened. I have a really hard time listening to the song now because of it.”

Bennington died July 20 at age 41.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.