Selena Gomez no longer ‘sad and hurt,’ now in control of her creative process
Selena Gomez feels that her best work has yet to be done.
Just the same, her latest album, “Rare,” is an important addition to her catalogue, because it reflects her desire to fully embrace her creativity and take ownership of her story.
“Becoming more involved than I ever have been [in creating an album] helped me gain confidence and empowered me completely. I took control over what I was going to say and do,” the singer-actress told Rolling Stone magazine in a recent interview.
The past seven years were an arduous period in Selena’s life. In 2013, she was diagnosed with lupus and had to undergo chemotherapy and rehabilitation. Her medical condition made her prone to anxiety and depression, which forced her to cancel two world tours: “Stars Dance” and “Revival” in 2013 and 2016.
The year 2017 saw the pop star further shying away from the limelight, after her lupus caused kidney damage so severe it required a transplant surgery. Earlier this year, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
But it was during her extended hiatus from show biz that the idea for “Rare” came to her. Nothing was forced or deliberate—the moment was, actually, quite serendipitous.
“I had started to play around,” she recalled. “This was probably three years ago. I didn’t feel inspired by much so I would just drift in and out.”
She continued: “I went away for a little bit, and when I came back … I heard a song called ‘Rare,’ and that was the moment I knew that my album was starting, and that this was going to be the name of the album before I even recorded it.”
Selena then decided that she would focus on crafting songs that lyrically touch on “transformation, vulnerability and heartbreak.”
“Rare,” a pop-dance album with R&B and Latin pop flair, debuted at the top spot of the Billboard 200 chart. It also spawned the single “Lose You to Love Me,” which became her first No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The follow-up release, “Look at Her Now,” peaked at No. 27.
Not only was she more involved in the creative process, the 28-year-old pop star also took charge of her single releases. The idea to put out “Lose You” (about self-discovery after a breakup) and “Look at Her” (about moving on from said breakup) back-to-back was hers.
“I didn’t have my team and my A&R or my label in the process a lot. I controlled what was being sent … They were kind of nervous about it, because they didn’t want to take away from either song,” Selena recalled.
“I wanted people to take away that this was a journey and that it was completely closed,” she added. “I don’t want people to see me as just sad and hurt. That part of me is over.”
While Selena loves working with different music artists and producers, she has found constants in Julia Michaels and Justin Trent, whom she started working with in 2014.
However, hearing Julia and Justin’s song “Good for You,” for the album “Revival,” gave Selena the push she needed. “I fell in love with the song. It was exactly where I was stepping into: being more of a woman and being OK with who I am, and not so scared to explore deeper into that,” she said.
Selena’s growth extends beyond her music and her work as an actress. She was recently named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020 for using her platform to advance her charitable initiatives and raise awareness about social injustices.
In Time’s profile on Selena—written by America Ferrera—she was lauded for advocating for immigrant rights in America, calling for support for the Black Lives Matter movement, and for pledging to raise money for mental health services in communities in need. INQ
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