Wise beyond her years, Demi Lovato has wrestled with demons that
have arrived in many different forms, yet now, ultimately, she is at
peace with herself and the world around her.
The fact that Demi Lovato is so young still — just 28 — yet has occupied a
place in our collective consciousness for so long, perhaps epitomizes one
of the many complexes of the modern music industry. Typically, artists
arrive out of nowhere and rapidly evaporate, to the extent that the once much-heralded ’15 minutes’ of fame is becoming less and less a slang term and something based much closer to reality.
Of course, that certainly does not apply where Albuquerque-born Lovato is concerned. One of the many who emerged out of the Disney stable, the singer, model, and
actress is now well into her second decade in the spotlight. Across seven albums, countless tours, and literally thousands of promotional events, her reputation as one of the most brutally self-aware characters in the entertainment world is secure. It’s also, arguably, the thing that has brought her the most coverage and garnered a level of respect that few others seek to achieve, as they hide their true realities far
from the public gaze.
“I could never do that, I could never hide,” begins Lovato. “I think when you sign up to this industry you have to commit yourself to it fully. While there have been things that
have come out about me in the past that I’m not proud of, I’m certainly content in the fact I have been able to live through those challenges publicly, and I’m certainly a better person for that experience.”
Indeed, perhaps just as impressive as Lovato’s glittering music career — seven ‘top fIve’ albums and chart-topping singles in multiple countries around the world — has been her ability to sway from one controversy to another, all the time reflecting, learning, and forging a route forward where outcomes may be different
From spending time in rehab due to drug addiction to coping not just with her own aggressive and emotional outbursts, but also coming to terms with those that haunted much of her childhood, including bullying and sexual assault, Lovato is one of the standout celebrities whose ability to live through the challenges means offering hope to millions of others out there
“That really is the point for me,” she concurs. “If I didn’t think people were able to take some comfort by seeing these realities then I’m sure I wouldn’t be so vocal about
calling out my own faults
“Yet the way I see it is if I can admit to my own failings and if I can say ‘that’s okay, I’m doing my best, then surely we all can. That’s all I ask.”
Lovato was first seen on our screens as a 10-year-old in the children’s series Barney & Friends. She followed that by appearing in Disney Channel productions Camp Rock and Sonny With a Chance, and it soon became obvious that she would cross over into mainstream music, in much the same way as have artists including Selena Gomez, the Jonas Brothers, and Ariana Grande.
“Despite so much early success I was never truly happy,” she admits. “I had suicidal thoughts going right back to when I was perhaps seven or eight years old. It was the
ability to escape the challenges I had in my head by slipping into this Disney world that ultimately saved me, and I know so many other people who have said similar things… that having and using a creative outlet can really pull you away from the darkness.”
Yet even success and stardom couldn’t solve the artist’s demons entirely, and things reached a head when at 18 when she entered rehab, having failed to halt mounting
substance abuse problems. A familiar story among the dazzling lights of celebrity, Lovato has since admitted to not being able to go more than half an hour without cocaine.
“It was the crutch that I couldn’t shake,” she admits. “It
becomes such a terrible part of your everyday existence and consumes every thought and action. It’s a life within life and while you know the dangers and the damage, it’s so difficult to steer yourself away from it
“That’s how I felt, and luckily I had people around me who
could help me make it across to the other side.”
To look at Lovato these days is to see someone still completely aware of temptation, but always striving to keep on the good side of the tracks. It’s perhaps no coincidence that having said goodbye to full-time addiction, her workload has
increased and the quality of her output is now wholly reflective of the obvious talent she harnesses.
“I want that positive attitude to come through in everything I do,” she says, “and obviously the best route by which that can happen is my music. “As a performer I am in love with melody and tempo and percussion, but at the heart of it all is my lyrics, and it follows then that I want my music to inspire in the stories that I put into my songs.”
This spring, her new album Dancing with the Devil… the
Art of Starting Over is released, with critical acclaim following closely behind it. And with the global Covid pandemic seemingly drawing to a close, the ability to get that music out to live audiences has proved a huge inspiration. “I think we have all learned so much about ourselves over the past year or so, and actually we have taken comfort and solace from music, but there is nothing better than to hear and experience something live, and when you have that taken away from you it truly makes you appreciate the value of it.
“I can’t wait to get back out there on stage, to connect with people and for us all to celebrate making it through this terrible thing. “I have prayed so much over the past years that people will nd a way through, both mentally and physically,” she says, referencing a strong faith that has often been called upon. “I think the power of prayer and the positivity we can take from music is such an important thing and denes us
as human beings. And I believe that God gave me a voice — and I don’t just mean singing. That’s obviously a part of it, but also to help others,” she explains. “He gave me the power to make positive music.”
Having recently also revealed her
gender fluidity, Lovato is forging
ahead. “When I went to Sunday
school and Bible camp I was taught
about a God that loves everyone for who they are, no matter what. I was taught about Jesus, who forgave people’s
sins no matter what they were.
“When it comes to things like judging people for their
sexual preferences, or who they are, I just think that the
loving God I believe in would never do that. And if you’re not
God then you shouldn’t really be judging anyone anyway!”
Demi is a woman so proudly condent in who she is, and
whilst noting that she has very little to prove, there is little
chance she’ll begin to draw back on commitments. “I like to
think of myself as going on my journey as a strong, independent woman. I’ve always been on my own solo path; I don’t
think that will ever change — it’s who I am and it’s who I’m
most comfortable with. And while I know there is still a long
way to go, if I can give any condence and encouragement
to others, I know I must.”