Lovato slays "Anyone," an emotional song and "cry for help" she wrote and recorded just four days before her 2018 overdose and subsequent hospitalization.
A powerful song that took on new meaning even for the woman who wrote it, Demi Lovato found herself so overwhelmed in the moment that she had to stop mere seconds into "Anyone" on the Grammys stage Sunday night.
In the silence that fell over the Staples Center in those few seconds before she collected herself and began again, you could feel the weight of the moment, but no one could anticipate just how incredibly wrought and gut-wrenching the forthcoming performance would be.
There is no understating that this was pure emotion and full heart from the first gentle notes to its soaring peaks as Demi veritably screams for the universe to send her "Someone," "Anyone!"
As she reached the first chorus the audience gave her an encouraging cheer before they were swept into her powerful vocals and the ache that poured through every tone and crept down her cheeks. This was easily one of the most authentic moments of a night usually filled with over-the-top stage productions.
That Demi chose to express herself so intimately on such a stage is a huge statement not only to the strength she carries within, but also to the importance of the message she only later discovered herself upon reflecting on the lyrics and her state as she birthed it into the world.
"This song was written and recorded actually very shortly before everything happened," Demi told Zane Lowe's New Music Daily on Beats 1 this past Friday in anticipation of this performance. "Everything" was Lovato's 2018 overdose and subsequent hospitalization.
"How did nobody listen to this song and think, 'Lets help this girl?'" Demi said. "I even think that I was recording it in a state of mind where I felt like I was okay, but clearly I wasn't. And I even listened back to it and I'm like, 'Gosh, I wish I could go back in time and help that version of myself.'"
"I feel like I was in denial, but then a part of me definitely knew what I was singing for," which is a huge part of why she chose to reprise the emotional track for the Grammys.
"It was about a week after I had been in the hospital, and I was finally awake, 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.
Demi herself was surprised at just how much truth and rawness were in the lyrics of the song, with its repeating message that nobody is listening even as she sings out, prays out. While she's not yet ready to tell her full story, Demi feels performing this track on this stage is a huge step forward for her.
"I think it's taken me a long time to be able to get this far, which is performing a song that's so vulnerable to me on a stage in front of all of my peers and coworkers and even people that I look up to," she said. "That's kind of nerve-racking to think about."
As recently as a month before this interview took place, Demi started going to church. She "shied away" from it for a long time because she "didn't feel welcome. I was also questioning my sexuality."
She said she's found a church in Los Angeles she feels accepts her for who she is, no matter who she loves. It was her manager, Scooter Braun, who suggested going to church. Once there, she said she "heard God clearer than I had heard him in a long time."
Her peers and her fans heard Demi Lovato loud and clear as she shook the rafters and touched hearts throughout the Staples Center. Her next performance will reach an even bigger audience. Demi has been tapped to sing the national anthem at next Sunday's Super Bowl.
As for her next single, Demi promises it will reveal a bit more of her story. "Anyone" tells of her personal moment of crisis "right before and right afterwards." Music is how she processes the depths of her soul, even when she doesn't know that's what she's doing.
Now, though, it looks like she knows exactly where her music is coming from and what it's saying about her and for her to hear. That in itself is a huge step forward as Demi Lovato re-embraces her career and her life with new love, thoughts of family and so much to look forward to.