Demi Lovato talks about her new album: Dancing With The Devil…The Art of Starting Over

Dancing With The Devil…The Art of Starting Over (by Demi Lovato)
Dancing With The Devil…The Art of Starting Over (by Demi Lovato)
Dancing With The Devil…The Art of Starting Over Album Cover

At 28, Demi Lovato is reckoning with a life in the spotlight that has been anything but glamorous. After being sexually assaulted by one of her Disney Channel costars at age 15, the pop singer says she fell into a years-long stretch of depression, eating disorders, self-harm, excessive drinking, and drug use that culminated in a dark night in 2018 during which she was raped by her dealer, overdosed on heroin, and nearly died. Her soul-baring seventh studio album (accompanied by a documentary film of the same name) recounts these horrors in excruciating detail, but strives to find a path forward from pain. Through every gutting piano ballad and stomping pop anthem, you begin to grasp the magnitude of Lovato’s strength, willpower, and courage—to go to rehab, to ditch her enablers, to break off her engagement, to forgive herself. Read on as the resilient power-pop force shares the story behind each song.

“Anyone”
“‘Anyone’ was the first song I shared with the world in regards to what I’ve been going through the past couple years. I feel like it was really the catalyst of the new beginning of this journey, so it was the perfect song to open the album right out of the gate. The rest of the project goes through my story and my journey, so you see where it ends up when you listen to the full thing.”

“Dancing With the Devil”
“I wrote this song with a really good friend of mine named Blush at the end of 2018. That was a very difficult year for me, and I wanted to tell that story in a song. It was really important to me that I introduced that song in the documentary. I remember playing it for Ratty, the director, and we decided we should name the documentary Dancing With the Devil. It’s so significant and means so much to me.”

“ICU (Madison’s Lullabye)”
“Madison is my baby sister. When I woke up in the hospital after my overdose, I was legally blind and couldn’t see. So when she came to my bedside I actually asked her, ‘Who is standing there? Who are you?’ It was a really emotional moment for everyone who was there. I was able to take that situation, write a beautiful song out of it, and also be able to express to my little sister how much she means to me and how clearly I do see her on a daily basis.”

“Intro”
“The interlude of this album is very simple, very raw. I didn’t want it to be too long or complex. I wanted it to be a brief intro to this new chapter of my life which I feel is [about] the art of starting over.”

“The Art of Starting Over”
“This song came about in a writers’ camp for the album that took place in Malibu. When they played me the idea, I remember I jumped on it right away. I’ve been obsessed with the song ever since and knew it was going to be the title track.”

“Lonely People”
“My favorite lyric from this song is ‘All that love is/Is a means to an end/Romeo and Juliet are dead.’ It’s so dark and it doesn’t even rhyme that well, but when I sing it, it does. That’s the cool part about being a singer—you can make anything rhyme. And it’s true: Why do we romanticize this story about this couple who had a really unhappy ending? It’s weird.”

“The Way You Don’t Look at Me”
“This is about that feeling you get when you’re with someone and you know they’re not paying attention to you. They’re not watching you when you get out of the shower, their eyes aren’t lingering on you when you walk by naked, and it sucks. That’s a shitty feeling, especially when you love the person. It also talks about how not feeling seen or valued can result in body image [issues] or eating-disordered behaviors. I talk about that in the beginning of the song, and I think it’s really important to express. In ‘Dancing With the Devil’ I talk about my struggles with substances, and in this song I talk about my struggles with food. Sometimes it’s difficult. People can really internalize not feeling seen or heard in a relationship.”

“Melon Cake”
“I used to eat melon cake on my birthday in place of an actual birthday cake. It was this watered-down, diet version of a birthday cake that was basically fat-free Cool Whip or coconut cream on top of a watermelon cut like a cake. It was never the vibe. The song is me saying goodbye to melon cake. That might seem insignificant to someone who hasn’t struggled with food issues, but for someone like me who has overcome that, I was stepping out of my comfort zone by eating actual birthday cake. It was a big step for me, and I wanted to celebrate it.”

“Met Him Last Night” (feat. Ariana Grande)
“I remember playing ‘Dancing With the Devil’ for Ariana back in 2019 when I was at her concert in London. We were backstage and she was so excited. She’s always been super supportive of me and my career, and it’s so awesome to have a friend like her in the industry. She started writing this song and immediately thought of me, so when she gave it to me I was like, ‘We should just sing this together.’”

“What Other People Say”
“Sam Fischer and I did this song together, and I’m so grateful to know him because he’s so fun to work with. Performing this song with him on Ellen was a blast. I’m really glad that we got to do that together.”

“Carefully”
“This is a song about wanting to be loved—but wanting it to be done carefully. It’s kind of self-explanatory, but it’s really about offering yourself up to somebody. One of my favorite lyrics in the song is ‘I could be your favorite dream/Baby, nobody can love you like I do.’ It’s so simple but it’s powerful, and I don’t have a favorite dream, so it’d be nice to find that.”

“The Kind of Lover I Am”
“I feel like this is the song I’m going to play people if we start dating so they can get a sense of who I am. I’m just an open, free-spirited person who wants to be happy, and I deserve that. Everyone deserves that.”

“Easy”
“Noah [Cyrus] and I sing this song together, and it was originally sent to me by Matthew Koma, who is a talented producer and artist. I fell in love with it the second I heard it and immediately thought of how incredible Noah’s voice would sound on it. I’ve always wanted to collaborate with her because she’s so brilliant.”

“15 Minutes”
“Crickets. Is that an answer?”

“My Girlfriends Are My Boyfriend” (feat. Saweetie)
“Saweetie’s so good at those best-friend hype songs and I knew she’d be perfect on this. She killed it. It’s such a great song and definitely an anthem for anyone who has just gone through a breakup.”

“California Sober”
“I wrote this song to try and explain that sometimes recovery is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and in my case, it looks a little different than maybe other people’s journeys. But it’s working for me, and this song explains why. I hope people can listen to it from a place of curiosity and understanding and compassion. I hope they can try to respect my truth the same way I respect other people’s truths.”

“Mad World”
“I saw this song in Donnie Darko when I was 14 and have listened to it over and over. I kind of forgot about it until I went to Big Bear [in California] and was sitting by the fire listening to music and it came on. I immediately texted my producer Mitch Allan and said, ‘We have to cover “Mad World.”’ He was like, ‘Cool, I’ll make the track.’”

“Butterfly”
“I wrote this song about my birth dad. I always had a complicated relationship with him, and I felt like it was in his death that we actually grew closest. I had more compassion and understanding for who he was, and came to understand why he couldn’t show up for me the way that I had always wanted him to. When a butterfly came right up to my finger on Father’s Day last year, around the anniversary of his passing, I knew I had to write a song about it. My favorite lyric is ‘You were never really graceful/Now you’re just what you’re supposed to be.’ It perfectly explains my dad’s transition from life to death. I feel like he became graceful and delicate in a way that he was never able to be on earth.”

“Good Place”
“This song best represents where I’m at today. It is the message I want to get across to anyone who’s ever struggled and can relate to my story. It’s an example of where you can be when you do the work on yourself. I hope people listen to this album and hear the struggles, but also come to a happy ending. Maybe this song can help them find the happy ending in their own journeys.”

Source: Apple Music

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