Singer Selena Gomez should be having a much better time in her life. Growing up from a child star to a legitimate music star does not always fare well for many, but she seemed to do it the right way. Steering away from her group, Selena Gomez and the Scene, was a huge push in setting the 21-year-old as a young woman ready to take charge of the world. Her first solo album, 2013’s Stars Dance, would definitely put eyes on her as a celebrity in her own right. Somewhere along the way, Gomez got her wish and ended up becoming her idol, pop singer Britney Spears. However, that is not a complimentary comparison.
In 2012, Selena Gomez along with her band, The Scene, was already riding high off of the popularity of three albums. Their final release to date, When the Sun Goes Down, even managed to have a huge radio hit with the single, Love You Like A Love Song. Considering the fame she had already achieved due in part to the collective, it was a huge shock when she decided to take a “hiatus” away from them and focus more on acting.
“My band and I are going our separate ways for a while,” Gomez said in a statement back in late 2012. “We will be back, but it will be a good while.”
Staying true to her word, Gomez filmed the raunchy Spring Breakers and a bit part in Eli Roth’s Aftershock. However, the hiatus from music would not last and eventually she found herself back in the studio working hard on what would become Stars Dance.
“I miss it,” she said regarding her connection to music. “I want to be able to write about things I’ve never talked about before and tell a story with this album, because I’ve never actually had time to go in and do that.”
Working alongside heavy music hitters such as Stargate, Roc Mafia and The Cataracs, Stars Dance was put together with the intent of showing off a new side of Gomez. She was growing up and no longer the young girl from Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place. She had become a young woman and she was ready to show the world what she was made of.
Jason Evigan, a producer who worked with Gomez on Stars Dance, stated that she wanted to “be respected like the great pop artists out there. I think this album is really gonna blossom her into a new realm.”
The first single from the album was definitely something different for Gomez. Sultry, sexy and, to some, a bit overreaching, Come and Get It was filled with a sensuality that had never been touched on by Gomez before. The payoff worked in her favor; she garnered her first top ten hit on the Billboard 100 charts. She seemed to be well on her way to a new level of pop stardom, but the downside that followed happened so quickly, it seemed almost inevitable.
She would embark on the Stars Dance tour to promote the album, but midway through, she would cancel half of it, leaving fans in Australia and Asia out of the loop. The reason she gave made the situation even odder. She claimed she needed to take time away for herself. She released a statement expressing that while she felt horrible for not coming through for those fans, it was something that could no longer be avoided.
“It has become clear to me and those close to me that after many years of putting my work first, I need to spend some time on myself in order to be the best person I can be,” she said in December of 2013. “To my fans, I sincerely apologize and I hope you guys know how much each and every one of you means to me.”
The very next month, January of 2014, fans learned what she really by “taking time to herself” was that the young pop star had gone to a rehabilitation center for treatment. The reasons given have ranged from a bad break-up with her on-again/off-again boyfriend, singer Justin Bieber, to possible alcoholism. Whatever actually occurred, it was still a huge cut in the plan of allowing the public to see Gomez in a different light. Inevitably, it worked, but not in the way she might have hoped.
In April of 2014, Gomez took things one step further and fired her parents, who had been her managers since her early entertainment days. It is not surprising for an artist to cut the business ties with their family members — Beyoncé did the very same thing with her father, Mathew Knowles, a few years ago — but with all of the negative attention that seemed to be coming her way, it may have been the wrong time. With rumors also stating that disconnecting from her parents had to do with a reconciliation with Bieber that they did not approve of, fans and critics grew more and more concerned by the moment. What was truly going on with her?
Sadly, all of these things bring to mind the life and turbulent times of another pop star, Britney Spears. In 2007, her personal and professional world collided in the worst way and although she has rebounded somewhat, things have never been the same. Granted, it is a huge stretch to connect the two, but Gomez has stated on several occasions that she looked up to Spears and their careers are eerily alike in several aspects. For example, deep rooted fans of Spears noticed that the font of Gomez’s Stars Dance album was the exact same one Spears used on her first “adult” album, In the Zone, released back in 2003, when she was 22 (the eponymous Britney was released in 2001, when Spears was only 20).
Lately, stories regarding Selena Gomez seem to center around mostly negative aspects. Just like her idol before her, she is stuck between two places: standing on the cusp of possible greatness or the edge of complete and utter disaster. Britney Spears was able to turn things around a bit, but things are still rather shaky. One can only hope that at some point, Selena Gomez works on continuing her success story as opposed to becoming another fallen star.
Opinion by Jonathan Brown
New York Post