Songwriter Justin Tranter was a guest of honor at the ACLU Bill of Rights Dinner on Sunday, November 17. And by their side was their friend, frequent collaborator and “heart,” Selena Gomez, whom they praised on the red carpet for her emotional honesty.
“She’s doing amazing,” Tranter, 39, exclusively told Us Weekly at the event, hosted at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. “She always has been so vulnerable and honest about who she is and what she’s going through in her music and in her life. And to be a part of another album where she’s taking that even further, it makes me super proud. Because for me as a songwriter, it’s not about me. It’s about me helping elevate and focus the people that I’m writing with and for. And so to help elevate her truth, it makes me feel so special.”
Tranter, who identifies as nonbinary, worked with the 27-year-old pop star on her forthcoming third studio album — including the heartfelt singles “Look at Her Now” and “Lose You to Love Me” — though Tranter hardly considers it work. “When you make this much honest music together for so long, it’s a friendship, it’s not a clock-in-and-clock-out,” they told Us. “Writing a song together is so intimate. Everyone in the room has to be willing to be so vulnerable and so honest. It’s been five years we’ve been working together. She’s my heart.”
The pop star — who recently opened up about her romantic hopes weeks after ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber married Hailey Baldwin — reciprocated Tranter’s praise on Sunday as she presented them with the ACLU’s 2019 Bill of Rights Award. “If you’ve never written a song before, I can tell you that it’s a very vulnerable and intimate experience,” she said on stage. “That can be quite intimidating. You’re not quite sure you have chemistry with other people that you’re writing with or even trusting someone with your story, which can be very personal. I feel so fortunate to know and work with the lovely and amazing, strong, compassionate Justin Tranter.”
She continued: “From the moment you meet Justin, you feel welcome, you feel special, you feel seen and you feel heard. Having worked with Justin for so many years, I’m lucky to experience this firsthand. Justin has pushed me not only as an artist and a songwriter, but also as a human being.”
With reporting by Nicole Pajer
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