Selena Gomez’s second solo studio album, Revival, will be released on Oct. 9 (though you’ve likely already heard its singles, the sultry “Good For You” and feisty “Same Old Love”), and Gomez is excited to shed her Disney persona completely with the grown-up new effort.
“I was really fighting for this transition,” Gomez told Flare magazine in its November cover story. “Ultimately, I’m not 16 anymore. I’m a young woman, and I’m growing up and trying to do it in a way I feel comfortable with.”
It’s not just a personal transition, either: Revival will be Gomez’s first album since she ended her contract with the Disney-owned Hollywood Records, where she had been signed for seven years, and signed with Interscope. It will also be her first album that she executive-produced herself. “That was a big deal,” Gomez told the magazine, “because they were partnering with me as opposed to trying to mold me or shape me into something.”
She also talked to Flare about finding her own strengths as a performer, even admitting, “I’m not the best singer — like, I know I’m not Céline Dion.” (Flare, appropriately, is a Canadian magazine.) “Ever since I was 16, I’ve had this lower register, what I thought was a very manly voice, and I was insecure about that. But once I started acting more, I realized it was an asset, and I didn’t want to force myself to aim for the highest note possible. My strength is translating emotion, because I’m such a feeler.”
Being “such a feeler” — and specifically, having once had such feelings for Justin Bieber — has thrown Gomez’s private life into the spotlight since she was a teenager. “I’ve lived my life in the public eye, and I’ve had to figure out how to do that,” Gomez said. “Ultimately, I am 23 and figuring out my life. I feel confident, I feel empowered, I feel in control.”
She believes that social media is part of what puts her in control, at least over her image, “because those posts are very intentional.” After being shamed on Instagram for gaining weight, she responded directly to her critics. “I want to be heard, and I don’t want people to see those comments and think they can bring people down, because it’s not right.”
And while she values social media for the control it’s given her, she wishes she could impress upon the young girls who idolize her how false it can be. “None of it is real, not even the comments,” she said. “It’s especially hard for women and girls, who think they have to look like those pictures; that breaks my heart.”
“Now that I do have this influence, I don’t want to just be a name,” Gomez said. “I want people to really be inspired, to believe they can do whatever they want.”
Head to Flare to read the full interview. Revival comes out Oct. 9.