Speed Reads

Dancing with the devil

How Billie Eilish contributed to Demi Lovato's 'awakening'

Demi Lovato says fellow singer Billie Eilish opened her eyes to a new realm of pop stardom.

Lovato's documentary Dancing With the Devil premiered at SXSW on Tuesday, ahead of the April 2 release of an album by the same title, and both projects are brutally honest, she says.

The album serves as a pseudo-soundtrack to the documentary, and the track listing follows her life for the "past couple of years," including her 2018 overdose, she said during a Clubhouse live stream.

After unsatisfactory reactions to her fourth and fifth albums, she pivoted to the pop star trope of showing skin onstage, she told The New York Times. "That role didn't fulfill me at all," the singer said. "Like it's not the most natural thing to me to go onstage in a leotard."

Then, a fellow pop star's actions sparked an "awakening." "I think it was when Billie [Eilish] started wearing the baggy clothes, that was the first time I was like, I don't have to be the super-sexy sexualized pop star," Lovato said, prompting her to explore her identity without that veil.

She says she's since learned to embrace her masculinity and femininity. This, along with the end of her engagement to Max Ehrich, which liberated her "from a box of heteronormativity and monogamy," is reflected in her upcoming album, which Lovato says is written from a more queer perspective. Looking back, she says her hesitancy to be open robbed her songs of vulnerability. Now, "I'm ready to feel like myself," Lovato said. Read more at The New York Times.