Demi Lovato lives her life in a fishbowl with every week bringing new headlines about what she’s wearing, who she’s dating, who she’s feuding with, her mental state and what she looks like in a bikini.
“It doesn’t stop when you’re at home, it doesn’t stop when you’re on tour,” she says in a phone interview. “It’s just the way that you handle it, the way you deal with the pressures. I don’t let it ruin my life. I don’t hide because of it.”
This spring, the pop singer’s Neon Lights Tour hit South America, where, she says, “I had a camera flying on a remote control helicopter at my hotel. You get used to it, but at the same time, you don’t know what they’re going to do next.”
The 22-year-old, who was raised in Dallas, with her mom being a former Cowboys cheerleader, has had a lifetime in the spotlight, starting her childhood stint on “Barney & Friends” alongside Selena Gomez. After more TV appearances as a child, he second big break came when she starred in the 2008 Disney hit TV movie “Camp Rock” and sang four songs for the soundtrack.
She proved herself as a live performer on tour with the Jonas Brothers that summer and followed that with a No. 2 debut album, “Don’t Forget.” Since then, she has released three more albums and scored Top 20 hits with “Here We Go Again,” “Skyscraper,” “Give Your Heart a Break” and “Heart Attack,” the latter from last year’s album, “Demi.”
“You can never anticipate any success on any song, any album,” she says. “All you can do is hope for the best and that’s basically what I did with ‘Heart Attack’ and the rest of the album was just hope and pray that it does as well as you believe in it. I was excited with the success that it had.”
As the primary writer on most of the songs, she says, “Everything is based off of personal experiences. My albums are like scrapbooks to certain periods of my life, and this last album was representing a time in my life where I was getting more comfortable with my artistry, my music and just having more fun.”
Of course, Ms. Lovato’s struggles have been well documented, beginning in 2010 when she dropped off of a Jonas Brothers tour and later revealed that she was battling drug and alcohol problems, bulimia and bipolar disorder. She has been an advocate for National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.
“I’ve been very open with my struggles,” she says. “I’ve been open about talking about my struggles with mental illness. It’s important for me to talk about it because there’s so much taboo attached to the word ‘mental illness.’ People don’t seem to understand that it’s common, it’s more common than people think, and it’s really important that people get the help they need so they can lead a happy life.”
She’s also been supportive of the LGBT community, and she filmed the video for the single “Really Don’t Care” at LA Pride week, where she was the Grand Marshall.
“The audiences were amazing, and people were proud to be there, loving who they wanted to love, being who they are and not caring what any hater might think about them.”
Her focus now is the World Tour that opens in Baltimore on Saturday and arrives at the Petersen Center on Tuesday.
“My show is very different than your typical pop star out there,” she says. “I don’t rely on a bunch of gimmicks to entertain people. My performance is about the connection with the audience and actual music.”
Scott Mervis: firstname.lastname@example.org; 412-263-2576.