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 Selena Gomez Talks Embracing Her Mexican Heritage on ‘Revelación,’ Greatest Hits & Using Her Social Media Platform for Good

Selena Gomez

Erica Hernandez

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Selena Gomez Talks Embracing Her Mexican Heritage on ‘Revelación,’ Greatest Hits & Using Her Social Media Platform for Good

"I am thankful I waited though because it would have been a completely different project 10 years ago," Gomez told GRAMMY.com about her Spanish EP ‘Revelación.' The album is a "Thank you" to her Latinx fans, the singer added. 

GRAMMYs/Mar 24, 2021 - 01:33 am

After successfully transitioning from Disney Channel star to chart-topping pop singer for over a decade now, Selena Gomez has set her eyes on new ground to break in her career: the Latin music scene. The singer, who is half Mexican-American, has flirted with Spanish-language songs in the past and has included Spanish-language versions of songs on albums with The Scene, but now has fully committed with her first Latin EP, Revelación, released on March 12. On her first Spanish-language album, which features a striking cover shot by Mexican-Colombian photographer Camila Falquez, Gomez tackles reggaeton—a genre she’s experimented with on the 2018 hit “Taki Taki” alongside DJ Snake, Cardi B and Ozuna.

To take on Latin music’s hottest genre of the moment on her own, Gomez called on one of its biggest producers, Puerto Rican GRAMMY-nominated hit-maker Marco "Tainy" Másis, to produce all but one of the 7-tracks on the EP. Gomez also enlisted some of the genre’s most promising names, Puerto Rican artists Rauw Alejandro and Myke Towers, as featured acts on “Baila Conmigo” and “Dámelo To',” respectively.  

The album has already been met with huge successRevelación debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Latin Albums Chart, making it the first album by a woman to land at the top since 2017.  

Gomez references singing on "Taki Taki" as a catalyst for Revelación and said releasing the album this year felt right. "I have been talking about doing an all-Spanish project for the last 10 years and for one reason or another, it didn't come together," she told GRAMMY.com. "I am thankful I waited though because it would have been a completely different project 10 years ago. Some of the music I worked on the last couple of years kind of naturally led to the timing feeling right."

In an interview over email, Gomez talked with GRAMMY.com about making Revelación during the pandemic, embracing her Latinx heritage on the project and continuing to use her platform to inspire change, including during last year’s Black Lives Matter protests. 

What was the experience like to work with Tainy on Revelación?

Tainy is a genius and has this subtle, stealth approach to producing, which suits me. I met him a couple of years ago when we worked together on "I Can't Get Enough," so we had history together and I felt comfortable exploring this side of me with him. We started recording the EP right before COVID shut down everything. It wasn't easy for me to adjust to recording sessions over Zoom. To say I hated it is an understatement. There were times I would just cancel and leave a session because I was so uninspired. Tainy was amazing and very patient as I worked through my frustrations. Late last summer, I finally turned a corner and that is when the music truly started coming together.

You've sang in Spanish before, but this your first time taking on reggaeton music influences in your own music. Did you listen to reggaeton growing up?

Yes, I am a huge reggaeton fan and I was so happy to be able to have the influences on this EP. Some of my favorites are, of course, Nicky Jam, Daddy Yankee, J Balvin, Ozuna, Bad Bunny, and on and on. I felt honored to have Tainy produce Revelación for me. He's immensely respected and it meant a lot to me to have him by my side for this.

READ: Bad Bunny Wins Best Latin Pop Or Urban Album For 'YHLQMDLG'

Both "Baila Conmigo" and "De Una Vez" are top 5 hits on Billboard's Latin chart. How do you feel to see your music connecting with the Latinx crowd?

I can't even express to you how much it meant to me. A big portion of my audience are Latinx, and I wanted to do this for them as a thank you. I was very nervous before "De Una Vez" was released. My heritage means so much to me and I wanted it to be perfect. I worked closely with my Spanish teacher because I wanted every pronunciation, every word to be perfect. When I saw the reactions, it really made me happy.

Your namesake Selena Quintanilla had to learn Spanish through her songs. Was that a similar experience for you over the years?

No, my experience was different. When I was growing up, my father's side of the family spoke Spanish and I was fluent until like about 7 or 8 [years old.] I started working around that time and over the years, I began to lose my grasp of the language. I could understand Spanish when I heard it but I couldn't necessarily speak it anymore. It felt remarkable to be immersed in the Spanish language for an extended period of time again. I want to keep on going!

With Revelación, how did you feel to be expressing and writing about your experiences in Spanish?

I find it incredibly powerful. The most important thing for me going into creating the EP was I wanted you to feel something whether you understand Spanish or not. I hope everyone listens with an open heart and mind. I also think it's amazing when anyone who doesn't speak Spanish seeks out the translations and realizes they were drawn to a certain song, and after learning what the words meant, they still have the same feeling.

What was the experience like to work with DJ Snake again for "Selfish Love"?

We had talked about working together for years and we finally did with "Taki Taki." He's a producer who has such a deep knowledge and love of all genres of music. It makes him well-rounded and willing to veer off the road in the greatest way. I had the best time performing with him at Coachella and I can't wait to get onstage with him again.

You're a part of a wave of US-born Latinx artists like Becky G, Kali Uchis, and Omar Apollo, who are making music in Spanish and not just in English. Why do you think more artists are embracing their roots in their music?

First of all, I love all those artists and I'm a big fan of their music. There is this amazing sense of pride that artists are having for their heritage. Maybe we are just paying more attention to it? I think it's always been there. I'm not sure if it's all of the access to music through streaming and the internet that we're exposed to different genres, cultures, and artists that would never get played on the radio, so maybe that has something to do with it. No matter what might be the reasons behind it, I am all for it. I think it helps unite people and expands their minds and experiences.

I love your song "Naturally." Which of your early hits do you like?

I started my career so young, so it's not always easy to look back. I wasn't really aware of what it truly meant to be an artist at the beginning. I thought it was more fun than anything. As I got older, I just cared more. I started writing music and developed an appreciation of the whole process of making music. I know I've grown as an artist and with that comes more confidence of what I bring to the table. That being said, I do have a soft spot for "Who Says," which I recorded when I was maybe 16. The message of loving yourself and not allowing someone to tear you down still resonates with me today. I will always perform that song.

Last year was a time of reflection in quarantine. How did you pass the time?

I cannot believe it's been a year since everything shut down. At the beginning, I am not going to lie, I was very lost and it was depressing. I tried to find distractions to stay clear-headed. Whether it was bingeing a new show or painting with watercolors. I just wanted anything to keep my mind off of what was happening. The killing of George Floyd changed everything for me. It was no longer about trying to find mundane things to make time pass. I was saddened. I was enraged and felt motivated. After that, other than keeping everyone safe from COVID, nothing else really mattered.

You have a big social media following and you've used Instagram to highlight mental health awareness and movements like #BlackLivesMatter. How important is it for you to use your platform for issues like these?

Don't get me wrong, I understand the importance of social media to stay connected with my fans and promote my projects. It upsets me greatly though the misinformation and lies that get spread on all social media platforms. In a way, it's a tool that divided us rather than connected us. I am very vocal about my issues with social media and will continue to be until the tech companies take responsibility and make changes. What I can focus on though is how I choose to personally use it and the messages I am putting out in the world.

You've used your platform to support the LGBTQ+ community as well. Do you have a message for your LGBTQ+ fans?

Earlier you mentioned my song "Naturally" and I remember when it was released, it truly started getting played in gay bars before anywhere else. I would hear from older friends that they heard it when they went out. I was so jealous that I was too young to be out and dancing to it with everyone. I hope they hear in my music the importance of self-love and the strength that comes through vulnerability. The LGBTQ+ community has been there for me and I don't take them for granted. Growing up in Texas, I remember when I was a kid, my mother had a group of gay friends and I loved being around them. There was no talk about anyone being "different." It was all pure and genuine love for one another and I'll never forget that. We've come a long way in the last 10 years, but we have so much further to go. The Senate must pass the Equality Act. It's absurd that this is even being debated in 2021.

You've been in the music industry for over a decade now. What have you learned about yourself in that time?

Where do I begin? Sometimes I feel much older with all of the things I've been through in my life. I'd say I've learned to be resilient and not give up, even when the world can feel incredibly dark. In regards to being an artist, I've gained the confidence to be in total control. With my last two albums, it felt empowering to have my vision executed and much more so with the last one, Rare. I didn't want a lot of outside noise. I wanted to be insulated in the studio with my co-writers and producers and make my best music. I think we achieved that and I know I have even more in me to push myself further. 

ReImagined At Home: Francisca Valenzuela Performs A Pindrop Version Of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt"

Chainsmokers, David Guetta & More Announce 2018 Las Vegas Residencies

The Chainsmokers

Photo: Jeff Schear/Getty Images

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Chainsmokers, David Guetta & More Announce 2018 Las Vegas Residencies

Alesso, DJ Snake, Diplo, and many more top-billing DJs have announced they will play 2018 residencies at Las Vegas’ Wynn Hotel and Casino

GRAMMYs/Jan 6, 2018 - 06:53 am

Las Vegas always has a little something for everyone. But for all of 2018, dance music fans will have a buffet of sonic delights to sample all at a single venue.

The Wynn Hotel and Casino has announced its official lineup of DJ residencies at its Intrigue nightclub and day club for 2018, and the list includes just about every sound a dance music fan could ask for.

Alongside the obvious can’t-miss bookings of Vegas mainstays like the Chainsmokers, — nominated this year for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 60th GRAMMYs for “Something Just Like This” — past GRAMMY winners David Guetta, Diplo, and Afrojack, and past GRAMMY nominees DJ Snake and Alesso, will come big room favorites and international superstars like Dillon Francis, Yellow Claw, marshmello, RL Grime, Major Lazer, and others.

For the up-tempo rave heads and deep/tech house lovers alike, there will also be a slate of newer and more select underground names making the billing as well, including electro-step crossover producer Slushii, progressive electropop hit makers Galantis, club night all-stars Jamie Jones, Valentino Khan, and Solomun, and many more.

In announcing the upcoming lineup of residencies, Wynn Nightlife Managing Partner Alex Cordova said in a press release, “With so many superstar long-term resident artists returning, and exciting newly-signed artists joining the Wynn family, we will continue to provide the best night- and dayclub entertainment experience available on the Strip.”

Tickets, reservations, and additional information about the 2018 season of Wynn Nightlife club night and day club experiences can be found on the resort’s official website.

Vote Now: Best Dance Recording Poll | 60th GRAMMY Awards

5 Takeaways From Selena Gomez's New Apple TV+ Documentary: 'Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me'
Selena Gomez

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5 Takeaways From Selena Gomez's New Apple TV+ Documentary: 'Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me'

In an introspective new documentary on Apple TV+, Selena Gomez opens up about mental health, the story behind "Lose You To Love Me," and how her mom inspires her.

GRAMMYs/Nov 4, 2022 - 10:56 pm

"How are you feeling?" "I'm very tired."

The first words in Selena Gomez's Apple TV+ documentary, Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me, are uttered as the musician lies down in the backseat of her private car, glum and reluctant to take her morning meds. She's resting, but she's awake.

Gomez's journey from child actor to pop star has been revelatory, but it's also exhausted her wellbeing. The 96-minute film follows the singer-songwriter over the course of six years, focusing on her bipolar disorder diagnosis, lupus treatment, philanthropic ventures, touring during her Revival era, and more.

Although My Mind & Me embraces darkness, it's deeply rooted in Gomez's love of giving, and her gratitude for family and friends. As the documentary intimately unravels and rebuilds the musician's identity, Gomez comes into focus to remind us that there's always light at the end of the tunnel. Here are five key details we learned from watching Selena Gomez's new documentary, Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me.

Selena's Openness About Mental Health Has Helped Herself & Others

In musician documentaries, discussions about mental health are often just cursory chapters — slotted between paparazzi flashes and hoards of screaming fans. My Mind & Me, however, as its title indicates, takes viewers deep within Gomez's mind.

The documentary details Gomez's experience with bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety with startling candor — part and parcel of the singer's goal to destigmatize conversations about mental health. Gomez teases that viewers will become privy to her "darkest secrets" early on in the film, and she keeps her promise. She doesn't fleetingly discuss her mental health, but shows it, vividly and honestly.

"I have to stop living like this," reads one of Gomez's journal entries from Dec. 19, 2019, her smooth, loopy handwriting snaking across the screen in one of the documentary's creative motifs. Gomez acknowledges she needs change in her life, and by making this statement public in My Mind & Me, she embraces the power of asking for help — and encourages others to do the same.

Selena Wants To Appreciate Her Past, Not Be Defined By It

While it's difficult for Gomez to escape her Disney past, she still deeply values nostalgia. In My Mind & Me, the singer goes home to Texas, visiting her childhood house and high school where she reminisces about growing up. Viewers watch Gomez order at a drive-through, speak to students who sit in the desks that she used to sit in, and talk about her old crushes with her cousin and best friend, Priscilla Cosme.

These homey, sentimental scenes harshly contrast the documentary's earlier moments of anxiety, such as a scene following the final rehearsal for the Revival tour where Gomez fears disappointing her manager and being viewed as a "Disney kid."

The poignant scenes in Texas also vary in tone from the documentary's frequent references to the media's obsession with her former relationship with Justin Bieber, and discusses Gomez's desire to be recognized as an individual.

Gomez finds comfort in her attempt to understand the disparity between her past and present. My Mind & Me reveals how Gomez finds strength in recognizing that her old life isn't gone — it's just a part of her now.

"Lose You To Love Me" Is Her Magnum Opus

In 2019, Gomez was "ready to just say I'm sad." She texted collaborators Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter, and in 45 minutes, they had a song.

The fastest song Gomez has ever written, "Lose You To Love Me," became her first track to top the Billboard Hot 100. Though Gomez, surprisingly, doesn't discuss her music much in My Mind & Me, she does choose to highlight this ballad, as one of the truest reflections of herself as a person and an artist.

On the surface, the power ballad is about loss, but a deeper listen tells a story of discovery. "It's me learning to choose myself, to choose life," Gomez explains in My Mind & Me. The documentary's focus on mental health provides fuller context for the song's weight.

Unlike "Who Says" and "Let Me Get Me," which discuss self-love broadly and in a more traditional sense, My Mind & Me reveals how "Lose You To Love Me" is about finding inner peace and healing.

Selena's Mom Taught Her To Not Fear Life

Growing up in Texas, Gomez was scared of thunderstorms. But her mom gave her books that explained how lightning and thunder were natural. "[She] basically said, 'The more you learn about it, the less you're gonna be afraid of it,'" Gomez remembers in My Mind & Me. "And it really helped."

In her documentary, Gomez thanks many family members and friends for their support, but she emphasizes gratitude for her mother. Gomez's mom worked multiple jobs to help care for her daughter; that perseverance and courage inspired Gomez, who called her mother a "powerful spirit" who showed her how to face life.

The strength Gomez's mother demonstrated helped the singer in her daily battles with lupus and bipolar disorder. The documentary details how Gomez must relearn how to live with these health conditions, and is buoyed by her mother and support system. By surrounding herself with people who never gave up on her, Gomez found faith in herself.

Selena Has Found Purpose In Connection, Not Escapism

Gomez first discovered the concept of escapism when she was 7 years old during her first job on "Barney & Friends." But as Gomez continued to excel in the entertainment industry, she found that there was little relief from her own vanity and loneliness.

As much as My Mind & Me shows the extraordinary external and internal pressure Gomez experiences, the documentary also reveals how deep connections have brought her joy. Amid the myriad struggles resulting from fame, close relationships have helped tether Gomez to reality.

The documentary highlights Gomez's philanthropic visit to Kenya, where she met local students in coordination with WE Charity. Gomez's eyes light up as she speaks with youth about their education, goals and more — "Do you believe in love?" she even asks at one point.

"Part of my heart is still in Kenya," she says in the film, inspired to continue advocacy work. Whether it's through advocating for education or mental health, My Mind & Me depicts how the singer finds a sense of purpose through giving back.

Selena Gomez Talks Embracing Her Mexican Heritage on ‘Revelación,’ Greatest Hits & Using Her Social Media Platform for Good

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The Week In Music: Who Is The Fairest Of Them All?

GRAMMY ladies go head-to-head in the battle of the pretty

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

What are the attributes that make the perfect woman? Is it a camera-ready glow? Fashion sense? Intelligence? Sense of humor? Talent? An uncanny argumentative ability? Chances are the ladies making AskMen.com's Top 99 Women of 2012 list have all of the above, and much more. With actress/television personality Sofia Vergara topping a list containing the usual abundance of actresses, models and paparazzi favorites, current Best New Artist GRAMMY nominee Nicki Minaj led all female musicians at No. 5. Other GRAMMY nominees putting the "s" in scintillating in the top 20 include Rihanna (No. 9), Zooey Deschanel (No. 12), Katy Perry (No. 16), and Lady Gaga (No. 18). Other notables making the grade include Selena Gomez (No. 14), Beyoncé (No. 39) and even hot newcomer Lana Del Rey (No. 95). Of course, lists of this nature are always subjective. But if you're a female looking to get in on the competition, we invite you to sample some tips from our GRAMMY Glam Squad.

While Music's Biggest Night is just a week away, Indianapolis will take center stage on Feb. 5 when the New England Patriots and New York Giants battle it out in Super Bowl XLVI. While the staff at ESPN is busy crunching statistics for their exhaustive game coverage, musicians are chiming in with their official predictions. Not surprisingly, JoJo, who grew up in Foxboro, Mass., will be pulling for Tom Brady and the Patriots. "I just feel like we [will] win by default, because we have heart," said the songstress. Putting on his analyst cap, Nelly thinks the Giants defense will be too hot for the Patriots. "I think the Giants play a little bit better defense, and I just think defense wins championships in the end," he said. Theory Of A Deadman's Tyler Connolly is leaning toward the Giants, but don't quote him on it. "I guess I'll go with the Giants," said Connolly, a San Francisco 49ers fan. When it comes to the halftime entertainment, Connolly did not mince words, however. "In reality you need to think about who's actually watching the Super Bowl — it's big dudes eating nachos and drinking beer," said Connolly. "And they want to watch the commercials with the Doritos girls. … Madonna? They're not going to watch Madonna." While there are few things better than Doritos girls, we here at TWIM we'd definitely rather watch Madonna, while enjoying a side of nachos.

Speaking of the Super Bowl, following Elton John and Madonna's Golden Globes feud last month, the Rocket Man is reportedly turning over a new leaf in offering the Material Girl some advice for her upcoming halftime performance on Feb. 5. "Make sure you lip-sync good," John advised Madonna on "Good Morning America." "I've never seen a decent one. Never ever." While Super Bowl halftime shows have arguably become more about the spectacle instead of the performance, it's hard to tell if John's advice is sincere. In 2004 the tiny dancer's response to Madonna winning the Best Live Act honor at England's Q Awards was: "Madonna, best fing live act? F off. Since when has lip-syncing been live?" While much of the Super Bowl action will happen on the field this Sunday, there's no doubt there will be lots more to see between Madonna's halftime spectacular featuring LMFAO and Nicki Minaj, and John's Pepsi commercial, set to air during the big game.    

While Dave Grohl has long been known for his quirky sense of humor, evidenced by videos for Foo Fighters songs such as "Big Me" (Mentos, anyone?), "Everlong," "Learn To Fly," and, most recently, the GRAMMY-nominated "Walk," the Foos frontman is taking funny to a whole new, hopefully hysterical, level. According to a report, Grohl is teaming with comedian Dana Gould to executive produce a 30-minute sitcom for FX Networks. The show will reportedly center on a rock band that is in the midst of their big break, and a breakup. The band seeks help from a therapist, who ends up being broken herself. Did we say sitcom? This sounds like the makings of a perfectly good drama to us. But whatever the show turns out to be, we're sure it'll be a hit, given Grohl's vast voiceover experience in films such as The Muppets and television series including "Daria."

Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich lost the Florida primary Tuesday to Mitt Romney by a wide margin, but that may not be the worst news he got this week. Gingrich also joined the long list of politicians who have been sued for misappropriating a pop song for a campaign without the artist's permission. On Monday, Rude Music Inc., controlled by the song's co-writer Frank Sullivan, filed suit against Gingrich for his use of Survivor's GRAMMY-winning "Eye Of The Tiger" from Rocky III. Gingrich was clearly gunning for some Rocky Balboa magic now that he appears to be the underdog again, and the anthem's other co-writer, Jim Peterik, who hasn't joined the suit, says that's okay with him. "If it motivates people to get out to the polls and create some excitement, that's what it's for," he told the Washington Post. And while Chicago-native Peterik is loyal to his native son, President Barack Obama, he concedes, "I like [Gingrich's] taste in music." Still, as Rocky himself might ask, "Yo, don't I got some rights?"

Adele's "Set Fire To The Rain" is No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" is tops on the iTunes singles chart.

Any news we've missed? Comment below.                                                            

Last Week In Music

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Carrie Underwood Wins Big At CMT Awards

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

Carrie Underwood Wins Big At CMT Awards
GRAMMY winner Carrie Underwood was the top winner at the 2012 CMT Music Awards June 6 in Nashville, garnering honors for Video of the Year for "Good Girl" and Collaborative Video of the Year for "Remind Me" with Brad Paisley. GRAMMY winners Lady Antebellum and Miranda Lambert earned Group Video of the Year for "We Owned The Night" and Female Video of the Year for "Over You," respectively. Also taking home awards were Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Scotty McCreery, and Thompson Square. (6/7)

Vevo Launches Certified Award
Music video site Vevo has unveiled the Certified Award, which will recognize videos that have surpassed 100 million views. Since launching the award on June 6, Vevo has certified 81 videos spanning 34 artists, including Justin Bieber and Rihanna (who have eight videos certified each), Lady Gaga (six), and Black Eyed Peas and Katy Perry (five each), among others. Vevo will kick off its Certified Award celebration on June 12 with special programming spotlighting Bieber, followed by Perry on June 25 and Selena Gomez on July 23. (6/7)