At the youthful age of 27, singer and actress Demi Lovato has already had enough successes for a lifetime in her career, which began as a child actress on “Barney and Friends” in 2002 and has since seen her receive dozens of nominations and awards.
But at the 2020 Grammy Awards, the singer gave a heartfelt rendition of her new song “Anyone,” her first performance in 18 months. Addressing her struggles with addiction and a 2018 heroin overdose, the song opens up about the singer’s vulnerabilities and struggles.
“I feel like I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long,” Lovato told Apple Music in an interview before the awards show. “It’s only telling a fraction of my story, but it’s still a little bit, and it’s enough to kind of show the world where I’ve been.”
In an awards ceremony that was already marked by the news of the tragic death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, just 13 years old, Lovato’s return to the stage was a highly emotional moment for her and for fans.
The song speaks of the singer’s sense of isolation and helplessness as she struggled with her demons. Lovato had a hard time avoiding tears as she began singing and stopped after the first line:
I tried to talk with my piano …
With the cheers of the audience coaxing her on, she started again and managed to deliver the powerful, prescient lyrics:
… I tried to talk to my guitar
Talk to my imagination
Confided into alcohol
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The backstory behind the song “Anyone” is directly connected to the events that led Lovato to her hospitalization. “I recorded the vocals for it four days before [the overdose],” she said to Apple Music. “The lyrics took on a totally different meaning. At the time when I was recording it, I almost listened back and hear these lyrics as a cry for help.”
The song goes on about how neither music nor the love of her fans could truly help her at that point. The chorus of her song emphasizes:
Please, send me anyone
Lord is there anyone?
I need someone
Even at the time, Lovato knew that there was something special about “Anyone” that she wanted to share with the world. “I was finally like awake [in the hospital], and I just remember hearing back the songs I had just recorded and thinking, ‘If there’s ever a moment where I get to come back from this, I want to sing this song,’” she said.
For Lovato, the whole experience of being on top of the world in her career, but on the bottom inside her own self, was in part the result of her early stardom and the tremendous pressure she felt. Remarking that she was just a child when she began acting, Lovato explained in her Apple Music interview that “no 7- or 8-year-old can comprehend what life is going to come with being on television.”
She adds, “And then you add social media which came about when I was about 15 […] and millions of people comment about your body, about the way you look, your skin, who you’re dating, who you’re friends with.” Taking the time away from performing to work on new material and re-ground herself, Lovato now feels ready to share her music with the world again.
If her tear-jerking Grammy performance, which resulted in a standing ovation, is any indication, it would seem that the singer is already lifting her chin and ready to move on.
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Author: Robert Jay Watson