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Q&A: Selena Gomez on turning 21, Bieber, new album

By Mesfin Fekadu
Associated Press

Have a question for Selena Gomez? She says you’ll find the answer in her new album.

The singer-actress, who had her breakthrough on Disney Channel’s “Wizards of Waverly Place” at age 15, says she knows she hasn’t been too revealing in the past, but she’s becoming comfortable in her own skin – and that’s reflected on “Stars Dance,” released July 23.

“Genuinely, the whole record is me being a woman and wanting to explore that and being comfortable in my skin and my body, and exuding confidence,” said Gomez, who turned 21 on July 22. “People speculate or think what they want to think, but it’s been really fun for me to kind of explore what I want to explore.”

Gomez credits her daring role in the film “Spring Breakers” with helping her find comfort in her womanhood. She has similar energy on her seductive single, the Rihanna-esque “Come & Get It,” which has officially broken her into major pop territory. The double platinum song peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Even Beyonce posted on Instagram that she’s a fan of the addictive track.

She’ll kick off a 56-city world tour in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Aug. 14.

Q: You say this album is more personal. What’s it like to reveal your feelings on the songs?

The last records … were very processed and a little bit rushed in a way, so the fact that I had so much time to share my life story and just where I am was really fun for me. … There were moments where I would kind of be a little emotional, talking about things I made sure I executed perfectly because it was such a sensitive subject.

Q: What was it like growing up with all the cameras?

I attempt to be who I am and it’s fun. At the same time, growing up doing what I’m doing can be a little crazy. You don’t ever know, and obviously I have my off days. I’m not perfect. I make mistakes.

Q: It’s different today for celebrities compared with 10 or 20 years ago.

I do agree to a certain extent that it is unfortunate that I have to be a little more aware of being a kid and growing up and figuring out who I am, but at the same time, it’s part of what I love. My mom always told me if I love what I’m doing and I’m having fun then just continue to do it. But if it’s not fun for me anymore and I’m miserable, then I’m going to go back to Texas and quit it all, to be honest.

Q: Do you feel like the blogs and the celebrity Web sites play up your relationship with Justin Bieber?

I think they do kind of blow it up in a way. … I’ve known him for a really long time and we enjoy each other’s company every now and then. But I’m definitely single and enjoying being that.

Q: What have you learned from Taylor Swift when it comes to making music?

I think Taylor has been a really good inspiration in my life, not just the music side, just who she is. Taylor’s been one of the strongest people I’ve ever known and she’s been through a lot. … Honestly I think if anything I aspire to be her in her personal life and how she handles herself publicly.

Q: You gave a shout-out to your Bible study crew in your album “thank yous.” Is that an important part of your life?

I think it’s been important for me to kind of keep all of that part of me private just because I know it’s such a sensitive subject for everyone and what I believe is maybe not necessarily what you believe and what everyone else believes. It is very important for me to acknowledge it because I’m not ashamed of it, but at the same time I know that people get kind of sensitive with it, so that was really for them.

Q: What it’s like being a big sister? (Gomez’s mother gave birth to a daughter last month.)

It’s crazy. There’s a 21-year age gap, which is OK, but it’s actually really amazing because we won’t be fighting over boys or clothes, so I’ll be able to be a cool aunt in a way. But I’m absolutely obsessed.

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