Selena Gomez on the ‘Liberating’ Experience (and Reese Witherspoon Approval) of New Single ‘Love On’

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One week after releasing the sparkling, disco-tinged pop single “Love On,” Selena Gomez has watched the song’s optimism spread across her fan base, and has enjoyed witnessing a positive personal moment translate to her listeners via a new single.

“It’s been lovely,” Gomez tells Billboard about seeing the general reaction to “Love On” following its Feb. 22 release. “I try not to read too much into things, but I think the whole idea was to make a song that felt good. I feel like I’m in such a light and happy place, and that’s reflected in the song.”

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Among the admirers: a certain Oscar-winning actress that Gomez ran into at the SAG Awards last month. “It was really sweet — Reese Witherspoon came up to me and said the song made her really happy and she loved it,” Gomez recalls. “It was a huge compliment, I was glowing. Those messages mean the world to me.”

“Love On” came together last spring, when Gomez was “in and out of the studio” in April while shooting a film in Paris. Feeling inspired by the City of Light, as well as content within her personal and professional life, Gomez called up longtime songwriting collaborator Julia Michaels and came up with a lyrical concept at once airy and flirtatious.

The standout lyric: “Why we conversin’ over this steak tartare?/ When we could be somewhere other than here/ Makin’ out in the back of a car/ Or in the back of a bar?” Yes, Gomez has seen the flood of TikTok clips dedicated to the “steak tartare” line, and says, “It brings me a lot of joy.”

The music video for “Love On” captures the song’s romantic effervescence, with French director Greg Ohrel surrounding Gomez with opulent parties, ballet dancers and couples sucking face. “It’s so liberating to not worry about how I look,” Gomez says of filming the video, “and I just wanted it to feel like I was having a good time. I didn’t need it to feel very intense or dramatic. It was just a blast, and I wanted it to convey that — I was genuinely that happy.”

Gomez says that she “definitely” has more material with the “Love On” creative brain trust of Michaels, who has helped pen some of her biggest pop hits, and production/songwriting collective The Monsters & Strangerz, which has worked with Gomez dating back to her Stars Dance album in 2013.

“I feel like I have moments where I hit these strides, and we’re just writing song after song, just in the zone, and I tend to do that when I’m with that dynamic group,” she says. “With Julia and I — for some reason the universe has put us in each other’s lives, because we go through so many similar things in our lives. It just feels so nice to have someone who knows me, knows my voice really well. That’s kind of what I feel like the goal is when I work with that gang — I’m always like, ‘How can I make another song that feels kitschy and fun?’”

However, “Love On,” as well as 2023 track “Single Soon,” may not make the track list to her next album, which will follow her excellent 2020 full-length Rare. Similar to how Gomez preceded Rare with a string of singles (including “Bad Liar,” “It Ain’t Me” with Kygo and “Wolves” with Marshmello) that didn’t make the proper album’s track list — they were later included on the Deluxe edition — Gomez says that these recent singles might just exist on their own.

“I think objectively, I would like to say that I am working towards an album, but I don’t know if those songs would be on that project,” she says. “I feel like I’m brewing, and I’m in the process of really creating some great songs, hopefully. I don’t know if they would fit with what I’m gonna go with.”

However the track list shakes out, Gomez simply wants “to make a great album” in 2024, in addition to continuing her film work. She recently returned to the Only Murders in the Building set, as filming on season 4 of the hit Hulu series has gotten underway.

“I want to continue working towards my goals,” she says. “In the acting field, I feel like I haven’t even started. And with music, it’s always evolving. It’s such a therapeutic experience for me.”

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