Within a few short years, Demi Lovato went from a Disney hopeful to a chart-topping pop star known for her spunky, confident air. A child actress who appeared on segments of Barney & Friends and As the Bell Rings in the 2000s, she had a breakout year in 2008 with a starring role in the Disney Channel movie Camp Rock and a debut single, "This Is Me" featuring Joe Jonas, that became Top Ten hit in the States. Released the same year, her debut album, Don't Forget, went to number two on the Billboard 200, only to be outdone by the follow-up, 2009's Here We Go Again. While continuing to turn out hit albums, she served as a judge on the U.S. version of TV talent competition The X Factor (2012-2013), had a Top 40 hit with her pop version of "Let It Go" from the soundtrack to Disney's Frozen (2013), and became a Grammy nominee (Best Pop Vocal Album) thanks to her fifth full-length, 2015's Confident. Lovato reached number six on the Hot 100 in 2017 with "Sorry Not Sorry" from Tell Me You Love Me, her sixth consecutive Top Five album. A second career Grammy nomination followed in 2019 for the previous year's "Fall in Line," a duet with Christina Aguilera. Having publicly struggled with substance abuse and mental-health issues along the way, Lovato is a longtime spokesperson for causes including anti-bullying and mental-health awareness.
Born in 1992 in Dallas, Texas, Lovato was raised in a household that included her mother (a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader) and her two sisters, the youngest of whom launched her own acting career in 2008. Lovato started out as an actress, starring as a cast regular on Barney and Friends before finding her way onto the Disney Channel with a recurring role in As the Bell Rings. Her debut album, Don't Forget, featuring songs co-written by the Jonas Brothers, was released by Hollywood Records several months after the premiere of Camp Rock, a 2008 Disney Channel movie starring Lovato and the Jonas siblings. Don't Forget debuted at number two, confirming Lovato's status as a star in her own right, and was followed in 2009 by the chart-topping Here We Go Again. Meanwhile, she continued to act, appearing in a popular 2010 sequel to Camp Rock and starring in her own Disney series, Sonny with a Chance.
In 2010, following a widely reported altercation with a backup dancer, Lovato left a tour with the Jonas Brothers to enter a treatment center for unspecified physical and emotional problems. After leaving the facility in 2011, Lovato announced that she had been treated for bulimia, among other issues, and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She also revealed that she would not be returning to work on Sonny with a Chance.
In 2011, Lovato released the studio album Unbroken, featuring the Toby Gad-produced single "Skyscraper." It became the biggest hit since her Camp Rock days, nesting at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100 and going platinum. The second single, "Give Your Heart a Break," peaked slightly lower at number 16 but was a bigger seller, eventually certifying at three-times platinum in the U.S. alone. Unbroken also featured co-starring roles for Timbaland and Missy Elliott on "All Night Long" and Jason Derulo on "Together."
Lovato's comeback continued in 2012 when she, along with Britney Spears, signed on to be one of the four judges on the second season of the U.S. version of The X Factor. It debuted in the fall of 2012, and Lovato's role was a success, leading to her return for the 2013 season. Prior to the season's launch, she released her fourth album, Demi, which appeared in May 2013 — preceded by the single "Heart Attack," which peaked in the Top Ten. A pair of subsequent singles reached the Top 40: "Neon Lights" and "Really Don't Care" (the latter featuring Cher Lloyd). Lovato hit the Top 40 yet again with a contribution to another Disney vehicle, this time a cover version of Idina Menzel's "Let It Go" that was released as the lead single for the massive hit Frozen. Lovato also entered the best-selling books chart with Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year, a collection of her thoughts and quotes from those who inspired her during her struggles with addiction and depression. During 2014, she had a recurring role on the TV show Glee and headlined two world tours.
The following July, Lovato released "Cool for the Summer," the Max Martin and Wolf Cousins-produced lead single for her fifth studio album, Confident. The brassy title track was also issued as a single a few weeks before the record's October 2015 release. Other collaborators on the album included Iggy Azalea and songwriter Savan Kotecha, who also contributed to "Cool for the Summer." In addition to a Grammy nomination, Confident peaked at number two on the Billboard 200. In 2017, Lovato contributed vocals to Cheat Codes' "No Promises" and Jax Jones' "Instruction" before releasing her own single, "Sorry Not Sorry." It was the first single from her sixth full-length album, Tell Me You Love Me, which appeared in September 2017 and reached number three on the Billboard 200. That November, she also paired with Luis Fonsi for the non-album single "Échame la Culpa." In 2018, Lovato joined Christina Aguilera on the track "Fall in Line" and delivered her own addiction-themed single, "Sober." More singles, including "I'm Ready" featuring Sam Smith, landed her in the Top 40 in 2020. ~ Matt Collar & Marcy Donelson