As she does on her just-released album Rare, Selena Gomez had a lot of her mind when she sat down with Zane Lowe for the latest edition of his New Music Daily show on Apple Music's Beats 1.
"This is four years of my life, and I think I'm completely okay with releasing it," Gomez said of Rare, which she was tinkering with until the very last minute.
"But there had always been something that was preventing me or scaring me from doing it, and I'm so glad that I've followed that gut instinct, because it's so crazy that every single moment counts, down to literally 'Lose You to Love Me' and 'Look at Her Now' is out, but we were still, the last day, writing music that … the song I personally think is going to be one of our biggest as well."
Gomez was joined by co-writers Justin Tranter and Julia Michaels for the chat, during which she talked about revamping the way she chooses her collaborators, considering just walking away from the music business all together and purging the "most toxic" things from her life. "I don't want to work with anyone who doesn't want to work with me," she said of carefully selecting who she worked with on the long-awaited follow-up to 2015's Revival.
"I think I just found my group, and I think I'm getting better and better, but I only know that that means it's because of the people I'm surrounded by that inspire me, that challenge me. I think the past few years, or, hell, decade if you want, I think I was really kind of hurting, and I think that prevented me from doing a lot more, creatively or even content-wise, of what I wanted to say."
In the past, she told Lowe, she was scared to speak up to her producers and take control in the studio. But now that she's working with people she considers friends, Gomez feels empowered to "give them s–t" and speak her mind during the four-year recording process, which included times when she occasionally considered just giving it all up. "Then I'd be like, 'no, f–k it, I've got to keep going,'" she revealed she told herself, realizing she still had something to say.
And while she didn't specifically say what it was, Gomez alluding to getting the "most toxic thing out of my life first," when she was digging in during the Rare sessions, and learning to lean on the people who trust, understand and are most loyal to her, including Tranter and Michaels. After more than a decade in the game, Gomez also had to learn to trust herself and listen to the voice in her head telling her to set appropriate boundaries for herself.
"Sometimes I pushed myself too far. When I did have to take moments and step back, I didn't find that it was embarrassing or that I was letting myself down or letting fans down," she said. "It meant that I needed to make sure… Basically, I didn't want to get to a certain age where it was almost too late that I didn't figure this stuff out, and I had been going through all of these different emotions, not specifically within relationships. It's personal. It's bigger than that. It's people at home. There was a lot there, and I'm grateful, because it has brought me through all of it, but I have this relationship with my job and my work that keeps me going."
The Selenators, of course, have always had her back, and Gomez, 27, told Lowe that she loves having a more intimate online relationship with them, even though she forced herself to take a two-year break from social media because she was "driving myself crazy" looking at things she didn't to. "I would see them over and over and over again. Then I'm comparing. Then I'm looking at these people, and I'm like, 'How do they?'… It's all the things that people say, right?" she said." It's nothing new. It's that you usually sometimes feel like s–t. You have FOMO. Everyone's life looks amazing and that happens to me, too. I'm like, 'Well, what am I? I'm missing the plot here. Right? How come it's so fun for everyone else?' Then it just started getting dark."
She unplugged from the accounts "dissecting" her body, her face, her features and the choices she's made after realizing those people didn't know anything about her, even as they were getting inside her head. "When I was out of social media, I was so much happier with just me, myself, how I looked, and that helped a lot," she said. "I just needed to let my old self go. I was purging multiple different things, but it was specifically who I was then. I would like to say that this is a fresh start, and I started with this album, but I am going to continue to just do better and do everything I can to make it great."
Gomez also talked about the album's title track, the trap of dating in the public eye, collborating with Kid Cudi, the jump from Disney to the raunchy Spring Breakers, focusing on mental health, getting back on the road this year and hearing Michaels' first draft of "Lose You to Love Me" after her return home from a treatment center. "When I walked in, and it was literally just the piano and the chorus and a bit of the first verse and I just sat there. And I tell people this too, because it was also such a very raw moment," she said.
Check out clips from the interview below and click here to watch the full chat.