After four and a half years, Selena Gomez has let her fans into her own personal world with Rare.
The 27-year-old singer says that in the past couple of years, while working on her long-awaited album which was released last week, she hasn’t "really come up for air." "But it’s all a good thing, because this is probably one of the greatest things that’s ever happened to me," she tells Billboard in a candid new interview, before revealing that she used to be in a very "bitter" place.
Take "Vulnerable," for example, and its telling lyrics about Gomez deciding to put herself first. "It is saying, after completely being depleted from life or whatever... I turned bitter for a while," she admits. "I was extremely bitter and very dry. I was just disconnected to my feelings for so long. But I go to therapy, I talk about everything that I’m walking through. I felt like, 'Why do I do this? Why do I give myself away to people, even if it’s just friends or random people? Why do I do that?'"
"And I realized it is because one of my strengths, that I thought was a weakness, is being vulnerable," she continues. "So when we worked on the song, that’s exactly where it started. If I can give you all of myself, are you able to take that, and take care of that? And if you’re not, then I’m still gonna be who I am. I’m just not gonna have you in my life, but I’m gonna continue to be who I am."
Fans can't get enough of Gomez's open and honest songs, which touch on topics such as heartbreak, pain, loneliness, finding yourself and letting go. From her Lupus battle, high-profile relationships and more, Gomez admits that she's poured so much of her past years into this LP.
"I was just done, you know? Just done being silent, and I felt like I deserved to have a moment for myself, after going through so much, and throwing that all into this album," she says. "I think I got to a place where I just said, this is what I’m gonna do and I’m not gonna be afraid of it."
With that attitude, and many years in between to get over her heartbreak and struggles, Gomez had a full journey with the first single she released from the album. "When I wrote the song 'Lose You to Love Me,' I was kind of a mess. It was really difficult for me," she details. "And by the time we shot the music video at the end of the year, it had a completely different meaning, and it was so freeing."
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"It was actually fun for me -- I think, because I let it go, it actually meant that I let it go within myself as well," she adds. "And I couldn’t have asked for a better way to close a chapter in my life."
Above all, Gomez couldn't be happier of what she's released: "It just took me a couple years to get through some sh*t. But then it came out great!" she shares.
ET spoke with Gomez over the weekend, where she opened up about why now was the right time for her album and how "Dance Again" is all about being in a new state of mind.
"I wanted to make something that was transparent yet really classy and very real to me," Gomez said. “I guess this was the right time and I felt it."
As for the danceable bop? "That song makes me feel like I got my step back, and I feel like, all right, I'm back in the game a bit,” she explained, adding that "the whole objective of the album is self-love and acceptance.”