By MESFIN FEKADU
AP Music Writer
Before heading into the studio for her sixth album, Demi Lovato began to overthink her singing career and she felt burnt out.
What helped her refuel? A Grammy nomination.
The 25-year-old singer, who released her debut in 2008 at 16, earned her first nomination at the 2017 Grammy Awards for her 2015 album, “Confident.”
“I was dealing with a lot of negativity online, and I remember I posted a tweet and I said, ‘You know, I’m going to take a break because this isn’t for me.’ ... And when I got the Grammy nomination, it kind of renewed that energy and that excitement and it kind of was reassuring,” Lovato said in a recent interview. “So I dove right back into the album even harder and more passionately.”
Though Lovato lost the best pop vocal album award to Adele’s “25,” it helped her find her groove on “Tell Me You Love Me,” her new album, which was released Friday. The album features the hit “Sorry Not Sorry” as well as soulful tracks – “I wanted to have songs that I could really feel and songs that I could really sing to” – and Lovato said the body of work is her most authentic release.
Fans can get a behind-the-scenes look at the album, and Lovato’s personal life, in her upcoming YouTube documentary “I Am Demi.” In an interview with The Associated Press, Lovato talked about goals, dealing with negativity on the internet, staying sober and her new album.
Q. People were really impressed with your performance during the Lionel Richie tribute at the 2016 Grammys. Do you feel like the respect for you grew after that?
A. I definitely think that I’ve gained more respect as a vocalist and an artist. I feel like I got recognition from my first Grammys performance and I was so nervous. I was like, “This is my opportunity to show people why I deserve to be here.” And I sang the best that I could. And I used that 30-, 40-second little section of the song to showcase my voice the best that I could. And I just left it all on the stage and I feel like that led to people listening to my album, and then leading to the Grammy nomination, and then the performance the next year.
Q. You mentioned negativity online – how do you make sure it doesn’t ruin your day?
A. There are certain things said online or even the other day I had someone say something in person that was like really rude. ... But I’m so sure of who I am, and so sure of my talent, and so sure of the person that I was raised to be, and the person that I’ve grown into that I don’t let that stuff affect me anymore. And I think I was insecure with my music and the success of my music whenever I was dealing with, you know, the negative press and I let it get to me. Whereas after that Grammy nomination, it kind of was like, “No, like look at your talent. You’re recognized for it. Like, cherish that.”
The paparazzi guy that said something to me the other day said something about my drug use and my past. But I know I have 51/2 years sober, and so when he said that, it didn’t bother me because I was like, “That’s not who I am anymore; say what you want but this is who I am, and I’m sober now.”
Q. The song “Daddy Issues” sounds deep, but the track is very upbeat. What was it like recording that song?
A. “Daddy Issues” is something that I’ve definitely had with the relationship with my birth father and it affects me to this day, you know, the way that I have relationships with people, so I wanted to write about that because I feel like a lot of people can relate. And so I went into the studio, but I wanted it to be up-tempo because I didn’t want it to seem like too heavy, it could easily go that way. And I thought it would be kind of fun to have like an upbeat kind of pop song that’s kind of ironic that it would be about such a heavy subject.
Q. Do you pay attention to the Billboard charts?
A. I don’t, and here’s the reason why: I used to look at the Billboard charts when it was more important. And as time has gone on there’s so many charts. It’s like the Trending charts. There’s the Billboard Hot 100 chart. There’s the iTunes chart. There’s what’s being the most streamed song on Spotify. It’s like there’s so many charts that you could be No. 1 in one, and No. 10 in another. If somebody tells me, they’re like, “Hey, your song went blah, blah, blah.” Like, great, awesome, but if it doesn’t beat “Despacito,” it’s not the end of the world (laughs).
Q. I asked because we’ve seen men dominate in the last two years and I wondered if you also noticed that?
A. Timing is everything ... I don’t think it’s like for a specific reason. I don’t think it’s like sexism or anything like that. Ariana’s not putting out music right now. Adele’s not putting out music right now. Taylor just released her song. Rihanna is not putting out music right now, so it’s just a matter of timing.
Q. What are some of your other goals?
A. My biggest goal in my career would be to win a Grammy. And that is like my ultimate music goal. I think I would love to do a residency in Vegas at some point. I think that I want to tour the world next year. I want to get back into acting at some point. But for my life goals, it’s having a family, it’s being happy on my own when I don’t have a family yet. It’s staying true to who I am and staying sober and staying in recovery.