by Natalie Dest
Since her debut album “Don’t Forget” back in 2008, singer/songwriter Demi Lovato has transcended from a Disney Channel star, to a pop sensation with a killer vocal range.
The 24-year-old has been in the spotlight since her notorious days of “Camp Rock,” back when the Jonas Brothers were the hottest boy band of their generation. After years of battling her mental illness, Lovato has been viciously climbing the charts with her soulful yet daring pop hits. With chart topping tracks such as her summer anthem “Cool for the Summer,” and break-up single “Really Don’t Care,” she continues to be recognized as one of the industry’s best vocalists. To say the least, the girl can sing.
With five Billboard topping albums, Lovato consistently stuns her fans, better known as “Lovatics,” with pure emotion and high ranged vocals into every release. Her fifth and newest album “Confident,” released back in October 2015, was able to land her first ever 2017 Grammy nomination.
Lovato was up against former nominees Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Sia and Adele for Best Pop Vocal Album. All of these artists vary in style and vocal sound. However, it’s the lyrics and soul that sets aside “Confident” from the rest of the albums nominated. In saying so, I’m not going to rule out the other artists as untalented or unworthy of a Grammy themselves. We’ve seen Grande deliver dynamic vocal performances herself, Bieber top number one on Billboard continuously, and Sia produce songs unlike no other. As for Adele, we saw her walk away with five Grammys herself that night, Best Pop Vocal Album being one of them. But as for Demi, it’s a different category entirely. Unlike anyone in her generation, Demi delivers it all.
The album “Confident” embodies Lovato as a graduate teen, promoting self-empowerment and assertion of confidence (hence the album title). The first track titled “Confident,” sets off the album with a sense of women empowerment and independence, as Lovato belts the lyrics “what’s wrong with being confident?” Following this head-held-high strutting anthem, fans are met with Lovato’s definite vocals on mid-tempo tracks that make her stronger-than-before presence clear. With it’s distinct sound, the pop anthem “For You” is accompanied by a backup choir singing the lyrics, “For you I would do anything,” as Lovato sings about summoning her inner strength.
In addition to these upbeat toe-tapping tracks such as “Stars” and “Yes,” this album is highly noted for Lovato’s soulful ballads that landed her the nomination slot. The lost love ballad dedicated to her dad entitled “Father,” clearly demonstrates Lovato’s talent of meaningful lyrics. Through her distinct pain, the lyrics “I know you were a troubled man. I know you never got the chance, to be yourself, to be your best. I hope that Heaven’s given you a second chance,” resonate as Lovato’s soul belts the words. Similar to “For the Love of a Daughter” on past album “Unbroken,” “Father” tells the story of her estranged relationship with her dad who had passed away in 2013.
However, no track on this album compares to her “post-break up” love ballad “Stone Cold,” a deserving Grammy award winner within itself. We haven’t seen such a raw track from Lovato since her 2012 post-treatment single “Skyscraper” and self-inflicting inspired “Fix a Heart.”
“Stone Cold” is soulful emotion, a track that continues to emphasize Demi’s powerhouse vocals and rawness, specifically seen within her live performances. With just the accompany of a piano, Lovato has her strongest track yet to date. She is seen to belt out each verse with a wistful feeling as her voice drops and breathes “I’m happy for you.” Clearly drawing from a personal sense of pain, the lyrics “I’ll take the pain, give me the truth. Me and my heart, we’ll make it through,” are directed towards a former lover who is no longer.
Chills are simply unavoidable when taking a listen to this track. It’s almost certain that “Stone Cold” was the winning component to Lovato’s record that landed her nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album.
All of Demi’s lyrics would lack their long lasting impact if it wasn’t for her incredible, unlike no other vocal capability. All five albums demonstrate the range of her voice and the expression she creates with her music. Through both the low and high notes, her soul is beautifully sung through her extremely versatile and flexible voice. With Demi, you cannot just listen to one of her songs blankly. The amount of emotion poured into her voice is astounding, as if she’s creating a masterpiece every time.
If Demi is constantly being recognized for her vocal and emotional power, the question remains; why is she still left empty handed? All in all, “Confident” is a dynamic pop production that let’s Lovato’s powerful voice soar to new emotional and vocal highs. Demi Lovato is no longer a Disney starlet, but rather a grown musician long overdue of her recognition. It’s about time this artist walks away with a Grammy.