Exclusive: Selena Gomez on Singing in Spanish and How She's Healed Herself
Selena Gomez hasn't let life in quarantine slow down her creativity. The Mexican American star, 28, talked to People en Español about connecting with her roots through her new music. "I absolutely love singing in Spanish. It's a beautiful language. I feel different when I am singing in Spanish, as it takes me into another world in my mind," she says. "There is something very alluring for me."
She also shared the stories behind the new singles from her first Spanish-language EP Revelación, which debuts Friday. "De Una Vez" is a song that will resonate with anyone who's experienced heartbreak. "We all have the pain and the scars from various experiences we go through in life, but it's really how we heal ourselves," Selena explains. "Not only is it about leaving the past behind and forgiveness, but more importantly it's about strength, moving forward, and starting your next chapter."
"Baila Conmigo," featuring Rauw Alejandro, has a "tropical, sensual sound and vibe," she says. "There is a bit of sorrow and longing that comes as well, at the excitement of trying to play hard to get but you know you have these feelings for someone. I love how the video conveys the feeling of isolation right now that many of us are experiencing with the pandemic, and how music can truly connect people no matter where they are in the world."
Now felt like the right time for her to sing in Spanish. "I have been talking about doing an all-Spanish project for about 10 years and for one reason or another it didn't come together," she says. "I am thankful I waited, though, because it would have been a completely different project 10 years ago. The last couple of years naturally lead to the timing feeling right. Working on 'Taki Taki' and then meeting Tainy when we worked together on 'I Can't Get Enough,' I was really inspired to finally do it. Tainy and I started exchanging ideas back and forth and it went from there. This is absolutely something on my bucket list. I am very happy with how it turned out and it will definitely not be my last."
Though she was happy to finally realize a dream she'd had for so long, recording during quarantine had its challenges. "We started recording the EP right before COVID shut everything down. I had to adjust once we had to quarantine and I couldn't go into the studio anymore. It was a difficult exercise for me to try and be creative with my collaborators when we couldn't all be in the same room together," she recalls. "I really hated it at the beginning, and there were times I just canceled a session because I didn't want to try and work over Zoom again. I thrive on the creative process of being with everyone in the studio. But despite the challenges, at the end of the day, I feel very fortunate that I was able to continue doing what I love during the pandemic."
She has also been in the kitchen cooking up a storm for her HBO Max series Selena + Chef. "I actually never thought I would do a cooking show. The inspiration for the show really came out of us all being asked to stay home. I've always enjoyed cooking but never really considered myself to be a good cook, I just enjoyed when I did do it," she says. "The best thing about doing the show has been the fact that we've raised over $360,000 for some amazing charities. I am very proud about that."
Life in quarantine has been an awakening for her in other ways as well. "I am not different from anyone else and believe we all have a new appreciation for many things we took for granted before. I think more than anything it's the importance of genuine human connection. I know I crave that the most," she shares. "I hope when we make it through this there will be fewer cell phones at dinner tables, and we will all not take for granted the experience of being together and being in the moment without the distractions of technology."
She's also filming a new Hulu series called Only Murders in the Building, due out later this year. Though the process comes with early call times and long hours, she's happy to be back on a set. "I thrive having this type of structure in my life," she says. "I forgot how much I missed being on set. It feels amazing, plus I am working with two comedy legends — Steve Martin and Martin Short."
On top of all that, she's still riding the wave of her Rare Beauty launch, which debuted last year in North America. "I'm overjoyed with the response to the products and our message of celebrating your uniqueness and being kinder to ourselves," she says. "We will be expanding into other global territories this year. This is very exciting for me, as I've spent the last three years pouring myself into launching this company and I honestly couldn't be happier."
Although she's in a great place today, being honest and speaking up about mental health is important for Gomez, who has been open about her battle with depression and anxiety. "I have this platform, and if I can make a difference I believe it's my obligation," she says. "When I was younger I thought I had to be perfect, but it's impossible to keep up the appearance that everything is OK. I got to the point where I wasn't feeling authentic, and it was important for me to be honest with my fans, as they've always bravely been open and honest with me."
Her fans, she says, are her fuel. "They've told me very personal things going on in their lives. Sometimes they've even said they haven't told anyone else. It's not lost on me the connection I have with them. It is what motivates me to keep going."