Last Saturday, one of my best friends took me to a Demi Lovato Concert at the Capital One Arena in DC. When she first invited me, in January, I was a tad apprehensive. I didn’t know much about Demi, just that she was a famous actress and singer. Regardless, I was flattered by my friend’s consideration and decided to go, so I could enjoy the experience with her. I remembered liking Demi’s hit songs “Confident” and “Heart Attack,” and I was curious to listen to more, especially because my friend loved her so much.
In the weeks prior to the concert, I took on the task of familiarizing myself with Demi’s music. I downloaded her albums on Spotify and played them on the bus, at the gym, and in the shower. I mostly listened to her “Tell Me Love You” album because it was the theme of her tour.
I don’t usually pay attention to lyrics when listening to music, so I didn’t have a clear idea of what Demi’s songs were about. I could jam out and sing along to the chorus, and at the time that was enough for me.
Fast forward to Saturday night. My friend and I are at the concert, and, after a few hours of opening acts, Demi comes on. She begins her performance with upbeat singing and dancing but transitions into some of her more serious music. Before playing her sadder songs, Demi addresses the audience. She announces that her concert is a safe space, and she explains the context of the song she is about to sing—a song dedicated to her recently deceased father, who had suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
I was amazed. At a pop concert, in front of thousands of people, a celebrity was taking the time to address the stigma surrounding mental illness. She admitted to her own struggles with alcohol addiction and stressed the importance of seeking treatment. Demi discussed the future she envisioned, a future where people could open up about mental illness and seek mental health without shame or guilt.
After her speech, I began listening closely to her lyrics. And they resonated with me. I realized why so many love her so much. She uses her music to share her pain and her victories with the world. Like many, I found I could relate to her quite well. Moreover, I want to be more like her. Her confidence and perseverance inspire me. Since Saturday, I’ve been listening to Demi nonstop. I am proud to call myself a fan, and I hope to see her perform again.