Former Disney princess leaves troubles behind
The world of teen celebrity is filled with cautionary tales destined for the tabloids.
That’s been the case with former Disney sensation Demi Lovato, who became an American sweetheart with the one-two punch of television (“Sonny with a Chance”) and hot-selling pop recordings. There was a time when she and fellow Disney stars like the Jonas Brothers and Selena Gomez attracted massive audiences for appearances and outsold many major rock acts.
But after a few whirlwind years, the pressures of fame began taking their toll on the performer, who sought treatment for emotional and substance abuse issues, with every lurid detail recounted in the tabloid media.
Fans stood by Lovato, showing support until the pop star resurfaced last year, looking healthier and decidedly more mature. Lovato, 19, never abandoned her artistic side, working on new music as a way to help with the healing process. She released “Unbroken” last year, which received generally positive reviews, and has emerged as a serious artist.
And the comeback continues: Lovato recently scored a coveted gig as a celebrity judge for season 2 of “X Factor,” alongside singer Britney Spears, and is set to co-host Fox's “Teen Choice Awards” next week.
Although Lovato declined our request for a telephone interview, she answered The Californian’s questions via email prior to her show at Rabobank Arena on Sunday, July 15.
A YouTube fan video documenting the evolution of your voice from 2007 to the present showcases you as a combination of two very strong pop vocalists: Christina Aguilera and Kelly Clarkson. Do you feel your voice continuing to evolve?
Thank you, I’m such a huge fan of both artists so it’s an honor to be compared to them. Vocally, Christina is just out of this world and I’ve had the honor to sing with Kelly before and she’s a really sweet and genuine person; they’re both fantastic talents. I definitely think my voice is evolving, even since my last album.
Above: Demi Lovato
You've already accomplished so much at such a young age, are there any dream projects you'd like to be involved in?
I’m definitely open to a film if something really great comes along, but right now I’m trying to focus on my music, which is my true passion. And as far as a dream project, you can’t really beat sitting next to Britney Spears, Simon Cowell and LA Reid for ‘X Factor’ every week.
The pressures of fame are undeniable, especially with young artists. At what point did you realize you would be able to resurface after dealing with your personal issues so publicly?
I don’t think anything was ever guaranteed, so I’m so thankful for everything that’s happening. But when I came out of treatment and realized that my fans had really been with me the whole time, I knew I would be alright. They’re so supportive. They had written “stay strong” on their wrists every single day I was in treatment, so that’s why I got the tattoos on my wrists.
What's an ‘X Factor’ taping experience been like so far?
Auditions are interesting; there are some really great performers and some not so great ones. The worst part is when someone has put everything they have into their audition and yet it’s just not that good. You need to have that extra something — the “X Factor” — to make it in this business, and its tough when someone is a good person and tries as hard as they can but they just don’t have “it.” Other than that, the whole experience is a blast and the judges all have a really great time together. One of us always needs to keep Simon in his place — that’s usually me.
Have you and Britney Spears become close friends since working on the show?
We’ve been able to spend a little bit of time together away from the auditions and she’s so amazing, so sweet. But what I don’t think people know, or what they’re going to see, is that Britney has a really great sense of humor and she’s not shy when it comes to critiquing a performer, she’ll tell it like it is.
What advice do you have for young people who have dreams of a career like yours?
Follow your dreams. You have to really want it and be ready for that opportunity to shine if it comes. And you have to be willing to fail a lot before you succeed.
What can fans expect at your live show?
When I toured last fall I brought a big show with me: dancers, pyro, things like that. This time around I wanted it to be a little more intimate, like it’s just me and the audience having a good time. It’s still high energy but I get to feel more connected to the fans and focus on the music.
Would you ever do a Spanish-language album?
I would love to one day. I recorded a Spanish version of “Skyscraper” that I love and I sang a duet with Pablo Alboran at last year’s Latin Grammys.
What's one random thing you'd like fans to know about you that they might not know?
I love talking about UFOs and aliens. And I can’t stop watching crime shows like “Law & Order,” “Criminal Minds” or anything on Investigation Discovery.
Pop/rock quartet Hot Chelle Rae opens
When: 7 p.m. Sunday, July 15, 2012
Where: Rabobank Arena, 1001 Truxtun Ave.
Admission: $49.50 to $69.50 plus service charge
Information: 661-852-7777 or ticketmaster.com
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Also printed in the 7-15-12 issue of The Bakersfield Californian