It's no secret that Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez have been pouring a ton of energy into their careers lately. Both of them have been hard at work on new albums — Bieber's Purpose comes out in November, while Gomez's Revival recently dropped. Even the album titles themselves highlight their mature, career-focused mindsets. But on Saturday, something shocking happened — a Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez duet was released. Yup, you read that right: a Jelena collaboration. The song "Strong" surprisingly appeared on Drake's OVO Sound Radio on Apple Music and it pretty much caught all of us off-guard. I instantly wondered: Wait, when did this happen?! If you're also wondering when Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber recorded "Strong" together, don't worry: I did some digging.
The Jelena single has reportedly been in the works for months, according to Hollywood Life. An exclusive source told their site,
[Selena and Justin] didn’t record this together; they laid their tracks separately but were both very involved with the song’s creation and writing ... This has been planned for months and they have been working on it at the same time they were working on their own albums.
That same source told Hollywood Life that the track was Bieber's idea, claiming, "They are still very tight and [Justin] felt that it would be very therapeutic if they worked together." While, of course, there's no way of knowing how legit the source is, I think it would make the most sense that the track was recorded separately. Plus, it really does sound therapeutic for exes to lay all their feelings out there and find closure together through music. But by allegedly recording it separately, Bieber and Gomez also avoided the potential pain of reuniting or spending so much time together to get the song just right.
If they did actually record it together, there were rumors of them leaving the recording studio at the same time back in June 2014. They could have recorded the song then and saved it until now... Although that does seem like a long time to wait. Neither Gomez or Bieber has yet to address the song on their social media accounts, so it's unclear whether the song was even supposed to be released in the first place.
The good news is that not all hope is lost for Jelena lovers. Their relationship doesn't appear to have been the healthiest (which Bieber admitted in his Complex feature story), but if these two can be on good friendship terms, that's great to see. After all, Gomez recently acknowledged Bieber's success in an interview with the New York Times. She said, "This is what I always saw in him. I’m like, duh!" Since she knows he has it in him, it'd make sense she could see herself doing a duet with him. Maybe they were waiting until they were both in healthy, solid places before sharing the song with the world.
Since "Strong" is quickly disappearing from the Internet (only a few YouTube clips remain), we can only sit, wait, and hope it's released for real in the very near future!