Selena Gomez: Singing in Spanish, Speaking Out Against Big Tech - Rolling Stone
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Selena Gomez on Singing in Spanish, Speaking Out Against Big Tech, and Returning to TV

“I just am following where my heart leads me,” says the star, whose new EP, ‘Revelación,’ is her first project in a language that’s close to her heart

Selena Gomez

CAMILA FALQUEZ*

Selena Gomez’s first Spanish-language EP, Revelación, has been a decade in the making. She first teased her fans by writing on Twitter about the idea in 2011. Life and a constantly expanding career happened, but the dream was never far from her mind. “If I’d put [this] album out back then, it wouldn’t have had the same impact,” she says.

The biggest influence on the EP’s sound is her namesake, the late icon Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, whom Gomez honored by performing “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” at the Houston Rodeo in 2010; the project also features production from reggaeton hitmaker Tainy and a duet with Rauw Alejandro. Revelación comes on the heels of a particularly busy year for Gomez: Since 2020’s Rare, she has linked up with Blackpink, hosted a cooking show, and launched a makeup line (Rare Beauty). Soon, she’ll be appearing in her first TV role since her Disney days, starring alongside Steve Martin and Martin Short in the upcoming Hulu comedy series Only Murders in the Building.

“I just am following where my heart leads me, and making decisions based on what I’ve seen and learned,” says the star, 28. “I guess it’ll keep going until it doesn’t.”

You’ve said that you feel like you sing better in Spanish, and you’ve been relearning the language. How has that been?

I was fluent until I was seven. I think what I meant is that I feel like I belong. I feel like I’m not as judged. Maybe it stems from years of people saying I’m not a real artist. Exploring this side of me has been nothing short of amazing. It really allowed me to take my voice to a different place. I just felt very confident when I would sing. I hope people hear that hard work and enjoy it.

How do you think people have perceived you as an artist — and how is that different from how you’d like to be seen?

When I was younger, it’s fair to say that I had no idea what I was talking about. I was building this character, in a way, while I was singing. It’s fun to do something that young kids will enjoy. That was my objective. [Later on], I didn’t want that narrative anymore. . . . I know I’m not the best singer, but I do carry stories. I’m emotionally connected to my music. It means just as much to me as it does for the world’s best singer.

You have two seasons of your HBO Max cooking show, Selena + Chef, under your belt. What’s the best thing you’ve learned from the chefs who have given you virtual cooking lessons on the show?

Patience. I get really frustrated with myself. They cut the show, of course, in a way that shows the chaotic moments. It’s me being exactly what I am, which is a little bit of a fool. But there were these silent moments in between that were really special and a little bit more intimate.

Have you made any of those recipes on your own?

Yes, I have attempted. I’ll be honest: They’re not as good when I don’t have direction, but it’s so much fun. As a surprise, they gave me a little booklet, and I have all the recipes that I’ve tried. So it’s not terrible, but it’s nice to have someone guide you.

You’ve been filming your new Hulu show with two of the funniest people alive, Martin Short and Steve Martin. How has it been being back on a TV set?

Being back on a series feels so normal for me. I’m an executive producer, so I’ve been able to be a part of the process of the show. I missed being on set. Steve is such a sweetheart, and Martin is just chaos. It’s a beautiful combination. I get to sit with legends and hear stories and ask for advice. I love spending time with them.

Do you have any favorite roles of theirs?

I love Marty on SNL. I’ve seen a bajillion videos. And I love Father of the Bride. If I can just be a girl — like, a major girl — it’s one of my favorite movies.

Lately, you’ve been calling out major names in tech like Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey about the spread of misinformation around Covid-19 and the Capitol riot. What made you want to publish those open letters?

I got too upset. I myself got off social media about three years ago. The way I post is through my team: I take the photo, I write the caption, I do what I have to do. But knowing what people are believing based on what they’re seeing disgusts me. It’s not real, and it’s hurtful. I couldn’t sit back and watch that happen. Maybe I would have been scared before, but there’s nothing you can say to me that would hurt my feelings. I would rather stick up for millions of people.

You’ve accused the big sites of “cashing in from evil” when they run ads with lies about the election. What motivated you to speak that directly?

The process was difficult. I just had had enough. I was terrified to speak up before. When you’re young and you’re figuring out what you stand for . . . I wasn’t as vocal before, which I’m upset about. But also I’m glad I didn’t, because what if I didn’t have the right information? Once I felt like there was just too much happening, I wasn’t OK with it. People being called aliens or murderers when they’ve done nothing but contribute to our society . . . that does not make any sense.

Your message to Facebook’s executives ended with the words “Hope to hear back from you ASAP.” Have you?

Everything is politically correct, so that’s all I’m going to say. I’m not going to stop. It’s fine. You’re still going to hear me talk about it, for a long time.

In This Article: Latin, Selena Gomez

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