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Demi Lovato: I Was Looking for God in All the Wrong Places

Demi Lovato interview

In a recent interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, singer Demi Lovato talked about her new single, “Anyone,” which she debuted at the Grammys Sunday night. Lovato wrote the song days before being hospitalized because of a drug overdose and now sees the lyrics as a cry for help. Since then, Lovato said she has been turning to God and meaningful relationships in her life instead of seeking purpose through other avenues.

“I tried to seek God through other experiences,” said Lovato, “whether that’s through other relationships or substances…and I had to realize the God that I’m seeking, the God that I love and the God that I want to be my God is available 24/7, always at an arm’s length, and constantly with me. And feeling that kind of, that shift, I don’t know, I just feel safer and I feel renewed.”  

New Demi Lovato Interview with Zane Lowe

Demi Lovato has a history of struggling with substance abuse, eating disorders, and mental illness. In March 2018, she celebrated six years of sobriety, but later that June confessed she had relapsed. The singer wrote “Anyone” shortly before overdosing on July 24, 2018. Here are some of the lyrics [Note: These lyrics contain language some may find offensive]:

I feel stupid when I sing
Nobody’s listening to me
Nobody’s listening
I talk to shooting stars
But they always get it wrong
I feel stupid when I pray
So, why am I praying anyway?
If nobody’s listening

Anyone, please send me anyone
Lord, is there anyone?

“I almost listen back and hear these lyrics as a cry for help,” said Lovato, wondering how anyone could have read those words and not have been concerned for her. “I wish I could go back in time and help that version of myself.” She was in a state of mind then where she thought she was ok, “but clearly I wasn’t.”

Success has failed to bring true joy and purpose to Lovato’s life. She used to be driven by a desire to achieve, whether that meant winning a Grammy or getting a number-one single. While there is nothing wrong with those accomplishments, she said, “I just know, personally, it doesn’t fill that hole inside of me that only love and appreciation and gratitude can fill.” This doesn’t mean she is unthankful for her success. “All of this is great,” said Lovato, “and it’s beautiful and I’m lucky and I’m blessed and I’m grateful. But I’ve learned that, clearly, if all of this made you happy, I wouldn’t have ended up where I did.” 

Lowe pointed out that music is often a way people cope with the pain in their lives, but “Anyone” presents even music as inadequate. The lyrics read,

I tried to talk to my piano
I tried to talk to my guitar
Talk to my imagination
Confided into alcohol
I tried and tried and tried some more
Told secrets ’til my voice was sore
Tired of empty conversation
‘Cause no one hears me anymore

Lovato responded that while music is wonderful and can help people with their pain, even music has its limitations. “Music has been a huge coping mechanism for me,” she said. “It’s been very therapeutic for me, but there’s only so much that music can do before you have to take responsibility and you have to take the initiative to get the help that you need.”

When asked what does make her happy, Lovato said, “When I think about what makes me happy today, I think about my family, I think about my friends, I think about my team. I think about connection…meaningful relationships.”

She also said that something new in her life has been attending church, adding, “I was not really a big ‘church’ person, like even a month ago.” But she went when her manager, Scooter Braun, invited her to a Bible study. There, said Lovato, “I just heard God clearer than I had heard him in a long time.” 

Lovato explained that she had avoided church because she did not feel welcome there and was questioning her sexuality. But now, she said, “I just found a place out here in L.A. that, like, accepts me for who I am no matter who I love, and there’s no judgment. And that’s what I needed was a place of no judgment. And I hadn’t found that until about a month ago actually.”

In an Instagram post about her performance at the Grammys, Lovato wrote, “What an unbelievable night. My first time back on stage in almost 2 years. So emotional for me. Thank you all for the love, support and for sharing this moment with me. I love you all.” 

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Jessica Mouser is a writer for ChurchLeaders.com. She has always had a passion for the written word and has been writing professionally for the past two years. She especially enjoys evaluating how various beliefs play out within culture. When Jessica isn't writing, she enjoys playing the piano, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.