emotional comeback performance at the VH1’s Do Something awards was met with overwhelming praise, and both her LA and New York album release shows sold out minutes after being announced. It’s the kind of exhilarating whirlwind most nineteen-year-old pop stars dream spend their early teens dreaming about but Lovato has been living this life for a while now.
The singer and actress started in show business as a pre-teen and rose quickly. By the time she was fifteen she was a bona fide TV star cultivating a promising singing career. In the late 2000s, while maintaining a rigorous TV and film shooting schedule, Lovato released two massively successful solo albums, Don’t Forget (2007) and Here We Go Again (2009); the former debuted at #2, the latter at #1. But in the fall of 2011 it all caught up with her. Lovato dropped out of a world tour in order to seek treatment for a series of psychological issues including anorexia.
Nearly a year later, Lovato is in a completely different place emotionally, psychologically and professionally. What could have been a derailing experience has actually resulted in clarity of purpose and creative focus the singer’s not sure she would have achieved otherwise. “When you go through something hard you come out the other side with a new appreciation of the things you love, which for me is music and singing and performing,” Lovato explains. “This record is everything to me right now. I sleep, eat, breathe, and dream about this record right now. I’ve given it everything. And that feels really good.”
“I’m psyched for people to finally hear it. I’m psyched that people like ‘Skyscraper’ so much. And I’m psyched to go out on tour and play these songs for my fans. After all I’ve been through, I really wanted to sing songs I’m going to have fun performing onstage, songs I’d want to hear on the radio. I wanted to make music that makes me feel happy and keeps my fans company, whether they’re happy or sad or whatever.” With the release of Lovato’s third solo LP, Unbroken, she’s done just that – put together a collection of tracks that reveal a young woman with enough real life experience to appreciate the value of letting loose and enjoying herself. “I love really raw music,” the singer says, “and that’s still a part of me, it’s there on this album but I also want to have some fun!”
On Unbroken Lovato showcases an uncanny balance of well-earned maturity and youthful effervescence. The songs run the gamut from epic ballad to cheeky pop power anthems. “One of my favorites is called ‘For The Love Of a Daughter,’” she says. “I speak about my relationship with my estranged father, whom I haven’t spoken to in five years and I basically explain why. It’s a controversial song – I wrote it when I was sixteen and it’s taken me this long to get it on an album, but I had to release it. Getting it out is like therapy.” This moment of fierceness is contrasted with giddy, playful pop, including a duet with Jason Derulo and songs like the title track, “a super fun dance song with a killer beat.” Meanwhile, the runaway lead single “Skyscraper” has already reestablished Lovato as a force to be reckoned with on the charts. “That song came into my life a year and a half ago. I recorded it before I went into treatment and now when I hear it, it sounds like a cry for help. When I got out of treatment we re-recorded it because I thought, well my voice is in better shape, I’m not throwing up after every meal. But it just wasn’t the same. There was a pureness the way I originally recorded it, so that’s the version you hear on the album.”
As she prepares to release Unbroken, Lovato is focused on her immediate future and enjoying all that’s available to her now that she’s back at the top of her game. “I’m the same artist as I was before,” the singer explains. “What I went through gave me a lot to write about but the album isn’t focused on all that, it’s about enjoying life. Right now I’m about the future, not the past. And that’s what I want it to be for my fans, something that can be their summer jam, if that’s what they need, or something they can turn to in their darkest times when they need inspiration. That’s what this music has been to me.”