Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Preview: Top 40 embracing grown-up Gomez

  • Print

LOS ANGELES -- Followers of celebrity gossip have seen a lot of Selena Gomez's driveway over the last few months.

Located off a winding residential street in L.A.'s Tarzana neighbourhood, it's where paparazzi have snapped countless pictures of the former Disney Channel star and where her on-again/off-again boyfriend, Justin Bieber, was photographed one night after a reported argument between the two at a restaurant in Encino.

Arriving home first, Gomez apparently locked the gate in the driveway, leading to a widely circulated image with this immortal TMZ caption: "Biebs Denied."

None of this action was evident on a recent afternoon in Gomez's tranquil backyard. Sipping a cola while seated on a patio overlooking a pool and tennis court, the 21-year-old singer-actress exuded a sense of deep calm (or perhaps deep boredom) as she discussed her new album.

Yet behind her studied half-smile, Gomez seemed aware that the tabloid frenzy is one sign that things are going right.

"This is a lot different than any of the records I've put out before," she said. "This transition that I'm going through has been really awkward and cool, and I've learned a lot about myself."

Stars Dance is the fourth studio disc from Gomez, who, after a stint on Barney & Friends, found fame with her role on the Disney series Wizards of Waverly Place.

More importantly, though, the album comes in the wake of her appearance earlier this year in Spring Breakers, the violent, sex-drenched crime drama from director Harmony Korine in which Gomez played one of four girls on a wild rampage through south Florida's neon-colored landscape.

That new adult vibe carries over to the suggestive lyrics and the harsh electronic textures of Stars Dance, which Gomez said had been influenced by dubstep superstar Skrillex's work on the Spring Breakers score. "I just loved his beats," she said. "When you watch Spring Breakers you can physically feel the music in the party scenes."

Gomez described her version of the sound -- heard in tunes like the fuzzed-out Birthday and the album's throbbing hit single, Come & Get It -- as "baby dubstep" but admitted it might surprise fans accustomed to the gentler feel of her previous albums. "It's going to throw people off, I'm sure," she said.

Mio Vukovic, head of A&R at Gomez's label Hollywood Records, said his goal for Stars Dance was simple: "I only cared about whether she could compete with the artists she loves: Rihanna, Pink, Taylor Swift." (It's probably no coincidence that the album contains a dancehall-flavoured track in which Gomez sings about shining bright like a diamond.) "I felt like it was time for her to not be the outsider looking in at radio but part of the fabric of it."

Historically, artists coming out of kids' television have had trouble gaining traction on Top 40 playlists. For Gomez, though, the resistance already appears to be fading.

"The first time I heard Come & Get It, I knew it would be one of the biggest songs of the summer," said Michelle Boros, music director at L.A.'s KAMP-FM. Boros thinks the song works in part because its "sexier" quality feels like "an authentic reflection of who she is right now."

That's an impression echoed by Niles Hollowell-Dhar of the Cataracs, who produced several cuts on Stars Dance. "All young pop stars inevitably reach that moment when they want to be perceived as more mature," he said. "But I think Selena actually has the capacity to do it. Working with her in the studio felt like working with a grown-up artist."

However authentic her maturity, Gomez's image is no less tightly managed than it was during her Disney days.

A July story in the Toronto Star made waves online for its description of the hoops a writer had to jump through in order to interview the singer. (First rule: No questions about Bieber.) And though Gomez seemed perfectly approachable at her home -- which she shares with her mother and stepfather and their new baby -- her publicist was quick to jump in after I made joking reference to a crib stationed in the living room. "She didn't have a baby!" he said.

Yet the move from playing a fictional character to doing mainstream pop traditionally requires a lowering of that guard (or at least the illusion of its lowering). Fans want to believe they're getting some sense of what it's like to be a given star; Swift, for instance, is a master at the art of celebrity intimacy.

Gomez said she understands the fascination. "It's in the back of my mind when I record any song," she said, adding that Stars Dance is to some degree "about me stepping out of my shell a little bit more." But only a little bit: "There's really two songs that kind of have anything that could be made into something big."

One of them, Love Will Remember, is a pensive mid-tempo tune that appears to be about a breakup with Bieber.

"The rest of the songs," she said, "are just about me having fun in my 20s."

 

-- Los Angeles Times

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 17, 2013 D3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Gail Asper says museum honours her father’s vision

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • May 22, 2012 - 120522  - Westminster United Church photographed Tuesday May 22, 2012 .  John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should the Canadian Museum for Human Rights use the word 'genocide' in exhibits on Indian residential schools?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google