American singer/songwriter Julia Michaels (pictured), who co-wrote LINKIN PARK's "Heavy" single, she finds it difficult to listen to the track now in light of Chester Bennington's suicide last month.
"I've listened to LINKIN PARK for years," Julia tells Billboard. "When I was growing up, my brother was such a huge fan of theirs, so it was always around in my house."
The 23-year-old from Santa Clarita, California, who began singing and writing songs at the young age of 12, became friends with Bennington after they worked together and her songwriting partner Justin Trantor.
According to Michaels, the concept for "Heavy", which focuses on self-care and "dragging around" personal issues, was the LINKIN PARK singer's idea
"He 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,'" she explains. "I was like, 'Yeah, let's do that.' And we wrote the song in about two hours."
Michaels also remembers Chester being "really funny" and "really warm" while they were working together with LINKIN PARK's Mike Shinoda and Brad Delson.
"He came in and was really funny and really warm, and had the biggest smile on his face," Michaels says. "He was just cracking jokes and having the best time, and Mike [Shinoda] and him were going back and forth, just making each other laugh.
"[The band] was so excited about putting out new music, and just so happy and just so lovely," she adds. "So it's really strange that these circumstances have happened. I have a really hard time listening to the song now because of it."
In a March 2017 interview with News Corp., Bennington was full of praise for his collaboration with Michaels and Trantor.
"They're a lot of fun to be in the room with," Bennington said. "Justin has an incredible sense of humour, Julia was really quiet in the studio. She's super bright. Together they're a very interesting team. She has a lot of personality but she's selective on how she lets it out. They brought this fun, edgy creativity to the room. It was really easy, it was really fun and very thoughtful."
He continued: "Julia has such a great voice, I was saying, 'You should sing your stuff. Why are you not out the front and in the background?' She said she wasn't that comfortable being a huge pop star. My ego would like to think that maybe I helped push her on her solo path."
"Heavy" was the first single from LINKIN PARK's latest album, "One More Light", which came out in May. The track featured singer Kiiara trading verses with Bennington over what was described by Rolling Stone magazine as "a sparse but nimble pop groove of swirling synths and rapt percussion."
Michaels recently released her debut mini-album called "Nervous System".