Selena Gomez has a very new attitude — about life, about her music, and about who she is as a woman. Her upcoming album, Revival, promises to be an introspective, revelatory look into Selena’s life as it stands now. More assured than ever, the young singer has bared her soul on The Heart Wants What It Wants and come into her own as an unapologetically sexual being with the breathy Good For You. In an excellent interview with TIME, Selena reveals tons of details about her forthcoming record, as well as what she’s up to now — including a stint as an adviser on The Voice. We’ve broken down 10 of the juiciest bits from the interview, which is well worth a full read. Check ‘em out below!
1.) Selena admits that her voice didn’t fit some of the songs she’s sung in the past.
Revival sees Selena embracing the lower register of her voice, and the limitations of her voice is something of which she’s aware. “I had to really discover what was going to work for me because there were times in my career where I sang things that just weren’t me and weren’t for me. You can hear it in my voice. You can hear it when it’s inauthentic. This whole record is extremely intimate. I did executive produce it…I know that I’m not the world’s greatest singer, but I do know that I have a unique tone.”
2.) Unlike Stars Dance, this is going to be a relatively chill album — and slinky lead single Good For You wasn’t even supposed to kick off the campaign.
Aside from a few “straightforward dance tracks” (one’s called “Kill ‘Em With Kindness”), she’s largely opted to go midtempo on Revival, and the success of “Good For You” was kind of an accident: “Good For You’ wasn’t even supposed to be the first single, but I didn’t want the obvious, huge song. I wanted to set the tone. That’s what the next phase of my life and career is going to be. I was like, ‘How about we just put ‘Good For You’ out first?’ We didn’t know it was going to do that well. We thought it was going to be well received, but it’s been insane to see how supportive people have been with the new direction.”
3.) She’s got more writing credits on Revival than any of her past albums combined.
“I felt like I needed to do that,” Selena explains. “It’s hard because sometimes I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s going to suck.’ Or, ‘Maybe I should just not. Maybe I shouldn’t say it like this.’ There was a lot of questioning myself because it is the first time I was heavily involved. The hardest thing is figuring out how to say it, figuring out how to talk about things without it being so over the top.”
4.) “Sober” is a favorite of hers, a song based on social awkwardness post-drinking.
She says the song, written with Chloe Angelides, was inspired by a conversation about “social awkwardness” and hanging out with people while they drank. “I would hang out with people and they would drink and they’re so fun, then the next day it would be weird. I actually left that night and Chloe ended up writing ‘Sober.’”
5.) She considers the Prince-inspired, Max Martin-produced “Hands To Myself” to be one of the best songs on the album.
Selena says she’s “so stoked” about the track, which was the last one recorded for Revival. “We were just like, ‘What are girls not doing? I want to know what girls aren’t doing.’ I feel like I tackled the love, I tackled the emotion and the heart and how I view the world, but what’s going to be super fresh? We had a cup, and Julia was banging the cup on to the desk. Then she had this Prince-y hook and was like, ‘What if we make it Prince-like?’ I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m obsessed. Let’s do that.’ Within 24 hours, that’s where ‘Hands To Myself’ came from. It’s probably the best song on the album. A beautiful accident.”
6.) Revival is personal — seriously! — and inspired by Christina Aguilera.
Selena says she loves albums, even though “I know they don’t sell or whatever,” and counts Stripped as in influence. “Stripped got me through so much of my life and told such a story. That whole album was her Revival.”
7.) …And she admits calling it “personal” is a bit of a cliche at this point.
“I get it,” she concedes. “I feel like, ‘Man, I shouldn’t say it that way.’ I’m sure a lot of people do say that. I’ve probably said that before because up until this point, I did try my hardest to pour myself into everything that I was doing. I just don’t even think I knew how. The moment somebody buys the album—the first track is “Revival” and the second is “Kill ‘Em With Kindness”—it already tells you where I am in my life, how I view things, what I believe in.”
8.) She’s over being told what to do by people she doesn’t even know.
Selena’s Disney days are over, and she’s tired of hearing it from every direction. “I just don’t care about the noise anymore. It drives me crazy. It made me depressed, it made me not want to get out of my house and it made me not want to talk to people and trust people. That’s not how I want to live my life. I had to do a lot of work on myself to say, ‘If I lost all this tomorrow, I’d be fine. I could open up a coffee shop and do a play every other month.’ I need my life to not be dictated by these people that I don’t even know. That, believe it or not, was at the top of my list. It’s how I needed to tell my story in order for my music to outshine all the bullsh-t.”
9.) And she’s done with the media’s portrayal of herself, too.
Selena’s got some words of wisdom when it comes to handling the naysayers and shittalkers: Just give them your best. “Ultimately people — I’m referring to the media, and then I’ll be done talking about them because it frustrates me — just want me to be this evil person that I’m not,” she says. “It’s the whole ‘build you up and knock you down’ thing. I’m not any of those things. I work hard, and anyone that you ever talk to that’s worked with me knows I’m professional, kind and that I care about people. I’ve been frustrated and pissed off before, but my mom has always taught me, every single time, turn my cheek the other way. It is always the best feeling waking up the next day going, ‘They gave me their worst, I gave them my best, and that’s all I can do.’”
10.) She’s heard new Gwen Stefani music!
While acting as an advisor for Gwen Stefani’s team on the new season of The Voice, Selena got to hear some of what Gwen’s been working on — and she’s gushing about it. “I’m so excited for people to hear it. I was really stoked for her because she wanted to do something that wasn’t necessarily all the way left field, she just wanted something really fresh, really different and hooky and cool. I’m like, ‘Well, you’re cool as hell regardless.’”