x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

The American pop star Selena Gomez will be in concert tomorrow night at the Dubai World Trade Centre as part of Dubai Music Week. In an exclusive interview, she talks to Saeed Saeed about performing in the UAE and the tricky transition from Disney starlet to adult artist.

Selina Gomez will perform at the Dubai World Trade Centre tonight.  Jaime Puebla / The National
Selina Gomez will perform at the Dubai World Trade Centre tonight. Jaime Puebla / The National

The American pop star Selena Gomez will be in concert tonight at the Dubai World Trade Centre as part of Dubai Music Week. In an exclusive interview, she talks to The National’s Saeed Saeed about performing in the UAE and the tricky transition from Disney starlet to adult artist.

You are playing tomorrow night at the Dubai World Trade Centre. How are the preparations?

It is going to be fun. Honestly, I just want people to be exhausted from all the dancing. Once I am on stage, that’s the moment I am all out and I feel and know myself. I feed off the crowd and I just want it to be fun for all the people.

You are coming to Dubai Music Week on the back of your new solo album Let’s Dance. Why did you decide to embark on a solo career, especially since you were very successful recording with your former band The Scene?

I will be very honest with you: the reason why I wanted a band was because I started recording music when I was 15. I liked having the support. I was younger, and music is so much different to acting. It is a very competitive world and you have to earn your way and earn your stripes. I remembered feeling not so confident on my own. I remembered experiencing some real things. I understood what it was and what I needed to say. The right step for me is to take it on and do it by myself and not have to do things with people around. I just have to be a woman and do it.

How does it feel now without that support?

You are always going to be more satisfied and happy doing something that is you; and you made all the decisions. It’s incredible because I am solo on every avenue of my life. I am here without my parents, I am single and I have my solo record. All of it has been a very good experience for me: to go out, travel and perform, and have it just be about my fans and my music and nothing else.

Looking back at your experience acting on numerous hit television shows with The Disney Channel, was it an enjoyable experience or simply hard work?

The Disney Channel was like the biggest high school. You go there and you learn and you are on a network that obviously has very good values and that creates amazing content for people to watch. So when you are part of that you just have to respect that and have those boundaries. Other than that, it was a great place to be and I wish I could still be on the shows.

Has the transition from being a Disney star to an adult pop artist been difficult?

Everybody’s path is different. Honestly, I understand when you need to be free. When you are younger and you need to experience something and want to feel real things, you’ve got to go and explore who you are and find out what it’s all about. I am just knocking on wood and hoping that it works out because it is never easy transitioning from a kid to an adult.

You also had a small part performing alongside none other than Chuck Norris in the 2005 tele-movie Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire when you were 13. How was that experience?

It was incredible, I am not going to lie. I mean, I was younger, and actually seeing it now is a lot cooler now than it was then.

Did Chuck leave you with any pearls of wisdom?

No. I don’t think he knew, nor cared, who I was.

sasaeed@thenational.ae