Selena Gomez Interview – “I want my fans to see that I’m not 16 anymore”
LOS ANGELES – It’s surprising to hear Selena Gomez worrying about her looks or her body image. Doll-faced, curvaceous, long-legged, and blessed with a voice that carries authority well beyond her 23 years, Gomez should have no reason to fall victim to any attempt at body shaming. Yet the pop star has recently made headlines by confessing to an L.A. radio station that harsh internet comments about a minor weight gain a few years ago were “really hurtful . . . but I’m not gonna give a f – – k what people say. I’m not gonna let them get to me.”
That’s the kind of attitude that prompted her to pose nearly naked, however discretely, for the cover of her new album, “Revival,” that marks a new chapter in both her music and her approach to life. As the lyrics from the opening track signal to listeners, “No more hiding…it’s my time to butterfly.”
Revival is the highly-anticipated follow-up CD to her vibe-changing R&B single, “Good for You,” which revealed a more mature, sexier, and bolder new Gomez. Having fired her mother and stepfather as her managers earlier this year, the Texas beauty and former child star is in the process of transitioning from her teen pop princess persona to a more sultry, seductive performer.
“I was afraid of revealing too much about myself in the past,” Gomez says. “Now I want to be able to say, ‘this is who I am, and I don’t care what some people might think.’ That’s why the album is called ‘Revival,’ it’s about me waking up and figuring out who I am and what I want. The songs are the true reflection of what I’ve gone through and how I’ve evolved. This is a new beginning for me.”
Revival is Gomez’s first album since signing with Interscope after her seven-year contract with Disney-owned Hollywood Records came to an end. As a sign of her wanting to be more in control of her music, she executive-produced the CD herself.
Earlier this year, the 23-year-old Gomez began dating German DJ/singer Zedd (real name Anton Zaslavski) whose upbeat attitude has helped the Texas-born beauty overcome any lingering love pangs over her notorious ex-beau, Justin Bieber. Gomez has gushed about Zed, referring to him as “this cute little German – he’s very sweet and funny (and) he’s got really beautiful eyes.” She added that the qualities she wants out of a man are above all “honesty, and of course trust, being faithful, making me laugh, those are all part of the dream, right?”
Gomez recently revealed that she suffers from Lupus, a chronic immune system disorder that required her to undergo chemotherapy treatments. Though there was rampant speculation about a possible alcohol problem when she abruptly cancelled tour dates in December 2013 and had entered a rehab facility, Gomez has now set the record straight: “I was diagnosed with lupus, and I’ve been through chemotherapy. That’s what my break was really about. I wanted so badly to say, ‘You guys have no idea. I’m in chemotherapy. You’re assholes (referring to tabloid press)…It’s awful walking into a restaurant and having the whole room look at you, knowing what they’re saying. I locked myself away until I was confident and comfortable again.”
And about a certain Mr. Justin Bieber, it seems that Selena Gomez has put that chapter in her life to rest once and for all. Stated Gomez recently: “There’s closure in a very good, healthy way. We’ve seen each other. I’m always encouraging and I am proud of his journey. I think people are making it out to be something that is more tragic than it really was. We grew up together. We both made mistakes. That’s it.”
Q: Selena, how would you describe the kind of personal evolution you’ve undergone over the past few years?
GOMEZ: It’s taken me two years of struggle, with a lot of ups and downs, to finally get to this place. I feel much more in control of my life and I feel stronger and more comfortable in who I am and what I want to do. This album is more a statement of my real thoughts and feelings than anything I’ve done before and I hope people will appreciate that.
Q: What have been some of the greatest challenges or concerns for you?
GOMEZ: I needed to stop worrying about things I can’t control and not let myself be affected by some of the negative things that have been written about me. I looked at other artists like Taylor (Swift) and Beyoncé who are so much in command of everything they do. I’m so inspired by women who are confident enough to be themselves. That’s what I’m trying to do now.
Q: We know of your great friendship with Taylor Swift, but what is your take on Beyoncé?
GOMEZ: Beyoncé is a very powerful woman who has so much energy and determination. She is one of the hardest-working artists in the business and has a beautiful sense of who she is and what she wants to accomplish. She’s very inspiring. I love Beyoncé.
Q; Let’s talk about your new album, Revival? What kind of work went into it and what kind of message will it send to your fans and anyone who listens to it?
GOMEZ: I’ve never worked harder on an album than I did on this Revival. I spent a year in the studio recording it and worked with amazing people like A$AP who worked on Good for You and Charli (XCX). I had a whole new team working with me and it’s been an important transition on so many levels for me. I’m also happy with how Interscope has gotten behind me and wanted to be a partner rather than trying to mould me into something I’m not.
I think people will see that this album has so much more relevance to who I am as a young woman making her way in life like so many other women in their early twenties.
Q: Why did you want to pose nearly nude for the cover of Revival?
GOMEZ: It’s a way of showing that I wanted to reveal myself and be as open as I can. I wanted people to hear my side of the story.
Q: Some of your songs reflect a deeper, richer kind of vocal expression?
GOMEZ: It was a matter of finding my voice and my tone as a way of expressing the emotions I was feeling. It took me a year of working on the album to finally find my voice. In some of my other albums I was using my voice in a different way because I always had a lower register and I had a lot of insecurities about that. Now I don’t feel I need to push myself to sing at a higher register because my goal is to express my emotions and you use that tone which allows you to do that in the best way possible.
Q: Was your 2014 single “The Heart Wants What it Wants” a stepping-stone of sorts for you to get to this more mature and self-aware place personally and professionally?
GOMEZ: Yes. That song was important to me because I wanted people to look at me and see me as who I am and the fact that I’m a young woman who is going to live her life and even when there are a million reasons to stop everything there will be times where you can’t help it. You will go through times that are painful and you’re going to make mistakes and have a lot of ups and downs. I thought that the pubic perception of me was so wrong and that so much that was being said about me was very unfair and painful.
Q: Was “Heart” therapeutic for you?
GOMEZ: That song and the video I did for it were both very therapeutic and it was my way of saying that I don’t care what people write or say about me, I’m still going to be true to myself and live my life. I’m going to be honest. Revival was an extension of that and I’m very excited about the album because it’s the kind of music I wanted to make and a new direction for me artistically. I want people to look at me and see me as I am.
Q: So where are you know in terms of your personal life?
GOMEZ: I feel confident and control of my life. I also feel I’ve understood how to deal with the public side of my life and not let that affect me.
I’ve lived my life in the public eye, and I’ve had to figure out how to do that. Ultimately, I am 23 and figuring out my life. I feel confident, I feel empowered, I feel in control. I want my fans to see that I’m not 16 anymore and that I’m evolving in a way that I feel good about and I would like people to feel the same way about me.