Selena Gomez: Before 'Good For You' Went No. 1, 'I Wasn't Viewed as an Artist'

Ramona Rosales
Selena Gomez photographed on Nov. 6, 2015 at Harlowe Bar in West Hollywood.

2 Weeks On Mainstream Top 40 And 1 Week On Hot Digital Songs

1 Week On The Billboard 200

With its bedroom vocals and A$AP Rocky cameo, “Good for You” announced the arrival of Selena Gomez, grown-ass woman. How that song, co-written with rising studio stars Justin Tranter and Julia Michaels, wound up topping the charts (and launching a No. 1 album, Revival) is a testament to the 23-year-old artist taking the reins of her career.

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GOMEZ It was the third song I heard while Interscope and I were getting to know each other. The demo was just a skeleton, but Justin and Julia bring this sexiness to everything they touch. She has a great way of seeing relationships. I know I wasn’t necessarily viewed as an artist, so this No. 1 is a validation.


SARA NEWKIRK SIMON, partner/co-head, WME music division: It was so great to witness this metamorphosis, knowing she was unapologetically feeling herself.

GOMEZ I had put so much pressure on myself, figuring out what my album was going to be, that I was exhausted when I went in to record. That’s why you can hear cracks in my voice, but the song took on this emotion I didn’t realize I could tap into.

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ALEEN KESHISHIAN, co-manager: We weren’t ever thinking this would be a No. 1 song.

JOHN JANICK, CEO, Interscope: When we got the record, it was like, “This is amazing, but is it right for a single?” I mean, even the idea of Selena and Rocky doing a song together: I’m sure it looked odd when it went out, but now it feels meant to be.

Billboard Year in Music 2015

This story originally appeared in the Dec. 19 issue of Billboard.