Is This What Harmony Sounds Like? with Demi Lovato
Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness #231 September 21, 2021
This week, Demi Lovato joins Jonathan to discuss the difference between accomplishment and joy, finding serenity off stage, and Dolly Parton’s tour bus.
You can follow Demi on Instagram and Twitter @ddlovato. If you loved hearing Jonathan and Demi together, make sure to subscribe to their podcast 4D with Demi Lovato for a special episode coming out soon!
Transcripts for each episode are available at JonathanVanNess.com.
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Hear the Episode
Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness & Demi Lovato
JVN [00:00:00] Welcome to Getting Curious. I’m Jonathan Van Ness and every week I sit down for a gorgeous conversation with a brilliant expert to learn all about something that makes me curious. On today’s episode, I’m joined by Demi Lovato, where I ask them: Wait, do I already know how to harmonize? Welcome to Getting Curious, this is Jonathan Van Ness. And I cannot believe we literally have this guest we have today. Welcome to the show, Demi Lovato! Ohmigod, tell me everything. What's going on?
DEMI LOVATO [00:00:39] What's going on? Nothing! I, I woke up this morning, I got glammed and now I'm here. I'm getting to talk to you.
JVN [00:00:50] I have been looking forward to this so much. I, literally, it's, like, settling in. I have to, I don't, I just have to clock my feelings. I'm kind of nervous.
DEMI LOVATO [00:01:01] Oh why!
JVN [00:01:01] Because I just love you.
DEMI LOVATO [00:01:03] Oh, my God, I just love you, too.
JVN [00:01:05] But even though we, like, DM and stuff, like, anyone who I, like, really love can attest to this, it takes me, like, a few times to not fanperson, like, with, in Michelle Kwan’s case, it took me, like, all of three years.
DEMI LOVATO [00:01:18] OK, well, that's Michelle Kwan. That's understandable.
JVN [00:01:22] It only just, like, went away, like, a month ago. Really, really good friends.
DEMI LOVATO [00:01:29] Oh, my God, cute. I love Michelle Kwan.
JVN [00:01:32] I love her so much. It actually hurts, like, every queer bone in my body. If I think about how much I love, like, honestly, like, it hurts me how much I love her.
DEMI LOVATO [00:01:41] I understand. She's a national treasure.
JVN [00:01:45] OK, so ultimately, like, every episode is, like, a question. And whenever I interview a fierce musician, I like to ask the question of, like, why can't I harmonize, because I have this, like, disease where I can only sing the melody, like, I can only sing what I hear and not well. I don't think I have a good voice. I'm just saying that I can only carry a tune, like, I can't harmonize for the life of me. I really, really want to, like, I want it so bad I can taste it, but I, like, can't. So it's kind of, like, the entry point. But I also have to say I have loved you for such a long time.
DEMI LOVATO [00:02:22] I have loved you for so long.
JVN [00:02:24] But I have actually, like, not that it's a competition, but I have literally loved you longer because I feel like we have kind of in some ways grown up together. You had just played such a huge part in my, like, when I moved to L.A., you could, like, from twenty, like, whenever Skyscraper came out, you would have found me on Robertson at any time, scream-crying that song, like, driving home from work, being like, “Am I ever going to figure out how to cut hair right!”
DEMI LOVATO [00:02:53] Oh my god.
JVN [00:02:54] But it was, like, it was, like, so transformative for me. And every album has been such a time in my life and in my recovery that, like, has just been so influential for me, like, every single one.
DEMI LOVATO [00:03:03] Thank you!
JVN [00:03:03] And I just love you so much. And your vulnerability and just everything that you have just I just love you so much and I really do. And I have felt like a really long time and I'm really excited that we're here. And when I realized, I can't remember, I, I can't there's been certain people like Michelle Kwan, like, we were talking about earlier, when I realized that, like, we know each other, like, I go into a fugue state and, like, you are one of those people and I just, wow, I just-
DEMI LOVATO [00:03:31] Oh my gosh! Wow! Thank you!
JVN [00:03:35] I also just had, like, an intrusive thought question that when I think in my standup, I call it taking a hard right. Can we talk about this stunning haircut? I feel-
DEMI LOVATO [00:03:44] Thank you! Yes!
JVN [00:03:46] Yes, have you. Correct me if I'm wrong. I can't ever remember a Demi era where you've had this sort of hair.
DEMI LOVATO [00:03:59] No, I haven't. I've never had an era with this short of hair.
JVN [00:04:04] I love it so much. I can't, I mean, I can stand how much I love it, but, like, are you, like-, it's, like, the wind in your hair at that length is, like, a whole new experience.
DEMI LOVATO [00:04:13] Oh, it's so nice. It's just, like, it's, I don't know, it's, it's working out. And rinsing your whole head, and just, like, if you're on a hike and you pour the water bottle out, like, over your head because you have short hair and you can do that now, like, it just feels so good. And I love it. I love having short hair.
JVN [00:04:38] That, like, verbal picture you just painted is so sexy. Yeah. Like, I wanna be Demi, just, like, I'm running and you're just like-
DEMI LOVATO [00:04:50] Oh my gosh! Thanks!
JVN [00:05:53] Thriving! But do you notice that, like, I felt like when I was, like, twenty-five, this fucking asshole was like, “You know what, you probably would get like banged a lot more if you would cut your hair short,” because they think there's a lot of, like, internalized misogyny in, like, the, you know, cis gay male community. No, there really is. It's like, it's like a thing. So I did. And then I was like, “I'm never fucking cutting my hair short again until my hairline literally doesn't support it.” And that's only if I feel like not having a glue-on toupee, honey, which I am not above. Like, I was, like, just a long-haired person. I was like, I'm, like, but that was just, like, but I felt like when I did cut my hair short, because I was giving, like, very, like, Lady Gaga in the “Alejandro” music video. I did, like, the strongest keratin treatment you've ever seen. Got all the curl out of my hair. Like, I literally did, like, six in a row in a week because I was, like, “I don't want like a whisper of a curl in here.” I was like, “I want this hair cracking off with keratin if it's possible.” I did, I just, I just had this fringe and it was just, like, “HA!” And then everything else was really short. I loved it.
DEMI LOVATO [00:06:56] Oh my God, wait. Do you have a picture? Can you send me a picture later?
JVN [00:05:58] Yeah, I’ll send it. Yeah, yeah, uh huh, uh huh. Yeah, totally, I'm sending it to you. But then I was like, “Oh my God, this sucks!” Because I used to just, like, be able to ply all my hair on top. I felt like it was, like, harder! Don’t you think it’s, like, harder to style your hair short than it was long?
DEMI LOVATO [00:06:12] Sometimes! And then sometimes I feel like it's easier when it's longer because you just can throw it up in a bun or you can throw it in a ponytail. But then, I don't know. But then it's just so nice having it short, I think because I had it long for so many years, it was, like, my, it was like my safety blanket. For me, I, I hid behind my hair because I thought that the more hair I had, the thinner I looked. And the longer my hair was, the, you know, taller I looked, or whatever. Like, all these little silly lies that we tell ourselves, they actually, like, the only person looking in the mirror and seeing what you're seeing is you. And so you have to feel comfortable. You have to feel beautiful and, like, in the haircut that you have. Just because, I don't know, that voice inside that's telling you, “Oh, it's making your face do this or it's making your whatever.” Nobody else is hearing that except you, you know.
JVN [00:07:16] Yes, yes, yes. I also just feel like I just, like, I had short hair because, like, there was just all these stupid rules on, like, my cheer squad and stuff. Because I was, like, definitely a cheerleader. And, like, boys had to have, like, short fucking hair. And they, like, and it's, like, there was, like, all these like dumb high school rules about like boy hair, like for your squad, it was, like, such a nightmare. And now I just feel like as long as my hairline can support it because, like, genetically, like, all the people who are assigned male at birth and my family, like, their hairline is just, like, “Bye!” at, like, thirty six. So I've been just, like, you know, chomping on the Propecia, like, once a night, like my fingers crossed, but no one really knows what's going to happen.
OK, I have another question, another fun career question. OK, so has there ever been a time, like, when something just goes wrong? I'm reminded of this time when I was on tour in Vegas and I do this part in my stand-up tour, or at least in that show where I was just, like, obsessed with this roller figure skating duo. And I compare, like, American history to, like, their trajectory. So I use this one where they fall everywhere. Then they do really, really good. And I basically compare that to the 2016 election and the 2018 election. But, and, I'm like, “What do you want for 2020, honey? Like, we got to get it together for 2020,” cause this was in 2019. Well, the music didn't work and then I was like, “Oh that's OK, I'll just, like, do it. I'll just, like, recap it, like, with no music.” But it really didn't make sense because, like, it, I didn't realize how much it relied on the music until I did it at this festival in front of, like, 2000 people. And it did not make sense without the music. You know, so, like, tech checks are fierce and everything. That was, like, I learned that the hard way because, like, you just couldn't do it in that particular outside festival, and I learned the hard way. What’s been, like, a time that you can “LOL” about now, but, like, something just, like, didn't go the way that you planned.
DEMI LOVATO [00:09:05] OK, so there was-, the first thing that comes to my mind is there is-, ah! I was opening for the Jonas Brothers on tour, and this was, like, my very first tour with them. I had just filmed Camp Rock. I was coming out with my first album, and I was, like, I was on the trajectory to, you know, have my moment. And there was one concert in Chicago where I was just a little too hyped to be saying good night. So I'm, like, running on the stage. I'm, like, waving bye to this side, and I run to the other side and I wave, and I go to run back and I just, like, bust ass, and I just eat it. And I was so humiliated. I was just, I was so humiliated, like, it was so embarrassing. But I made it through.
JVN [00:10:08] It, like, gives us character, I guess!
DEMI LOVATO [00:10:10] Yeah! I guess, yeah!
JVN [00:10:12] Yeah. I mean, I guess OK, so in your, I mean, I feel like this is almost, like, well-, it's not, like, an unfair it's, like, not, like, serial, but, like, you've had so many major moments in your career, I'm sure, like-. I got to play Radio City this one time and I almost, like, shit my pants all over the place because I just was, like, “Divas Live happened here. And like, I just can't handle the level of people that have performed here right now, like Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Mariah, Shania. I'm going to have, like, a nervous breakdown.” But then, like, the curtain came up and she had to go. What it's been like some of your most like, proudest surrealists, like exciting moments, like minus the shitting your pants part, but like, unless that's what happened. What was an exciting moment where you’re, like, “I can't believe this is happening.”
DEMI LOVATO [00:10:55] I'm, I think definitely doing the national anthem at the Super Bowl was, like, that was a moment for me that was just really, really exciting and rewarding. And, and I think, you know, playing at the Grammys that same year was, was really special for me because I really got, like, a chance to shine. And, and that's always really important to me.
JVN [00:11:27] Okay, so this one time, I was in Tokyo and then I had to fly to Tampa for this other job and I was, like, “The alliteration is, like, too much for me.” I'm obsessed. Like, I never thought I would be, like, going from Tokyo to Tampa. What has been, like, your most fun, like, tour connection where it was just, like, a fun, like, really random, like, different, like-, has it happened, like, so many times that you just can't even think of one?
DEMI LOVATO [00:11:52] Yes. I mean, I'm thinking of-, I think, like, the most random connection that I that I've had: I had, like, a, like, an eight-hour layover in Istanbul one time, and I don't know if you've ever been to the, like, lounge in Istanbul, but it is crazy. At least I'm thinking that it's the same one. It's so sick. There's, like, there's, like, a mini hotel, like, you can get your own room, and your private suite. And it's just, like, so it was so random. I wasn't expecting that. But I think, it came in really clutch because I was so sick. I had, like, the flu. [CROSSTALK] Because I had traveled from, I think it was somewhere really warm, like, like, it was Asia, somewhere in Asia, I want to say, like, the Philippines or something. And then I had to go somewhere, somewhere to-, I had to go to Moscow.
JVN [00:12:57] Ooh!
DEMI LOVATO [00:12:57] And it was snowing and freezing cold. And so that, that airport, that connection, I never forgot it because it came in so nicely. Like, I needed, I sweated through that bed. It was so awful. But it's exactly what I needed. So that's probably the most, like, random connection. But also, I never forgot that trip because of how much it came in handy like that, that eight-hour layover.
JVN [00:13:28] Philippines to the Philippines, to Moscow is, like, fucking fierce. Was it Manilla to Moscow, was it Manilla to Moscow, were you Manilla to Moscow?
DEMI LOVATO [00:13:38] Honestly, I don't know!
JVN [00:13:40] For the purposes of this alliteration...
DEMI LOVATO [00:13:42] We’re just gonna say it.
JVN [00:13:43] Manilla to Moscow is, like, oh, my God, I can’t-. that is-. OK. That was another question. Is there any place you ever wanted to go and just, like, visit and see stuff that you, like, haven't been or have you, like, literally been everywhere?
DEMI LOVATO [00:13:56] No, I haven't been to South Africa. I would love to go to South Africa. I, I've been to Kenya a couple of times and just had the most profound spiritual experiences there. But I think South Africa would, it would be nice to see, you know, different part of the continent.
JVN [00:14:18] Yes! Yes, you better work! Okay, wait! Ok, ok, oh yeah. I actually, I missed another question. I’m literally a literal beauty care founder, like, I'm obsessed with, like, hair and makeup, I can’t help but I'm obsessed. I just-, What are, like, your favorite of all time. Like, skincare. Like, haircare. Like, is there anything that you're just, like, “Let me tell you what I’m obsessed with!”
DEMI LOVATO [00:14:39] Yes! So I love to use Renée Rouleau skincare products. I have been using her products for almost fifteen years.
JVN [00:14:51] Oh, I’m writing notes, honey! I’ve never heard of this skincare before! What’s wrong with me?
DEMI LOVATO [00:14:56] Yes. It’s Renée Rouleau. It’s Renée, so R-e-n-ee. R-o-u-l-e-a-u. Rouleau.
JVN [00:15:05] Expensive. You better hit me with that French name. Yes, I love that. Okay, so what else do you love!
DEMI LOVATO [00:15:11] So, and I love Tatcha. I love Tatcha, they have really nice creams.
JVN [00:15:17] We interviewed their founder on Getting Curious We're obsessed. Yes. [CROSSTALK] Have you ever used their foaming cleanser? That, like, powder cleanser that then you put a little bit of water in and it’s-. [CROSSTALK] Oh my god! It's, like, their rice polishing cleanser and it’s so, like it's, like, this, like, dehydrated, like, it's, like, powder and yeah, I'm obsessed with it. I feel like you would love it. I did not mean interrupt you. I freaked out because I’m obsessed with using Tatcha. What else do you love from Tatcha? Have you ever used their oil absorbing pads, not that you’ve ever been, like, oily a day in your life. But if you ever do, like, I love their, like, their little absorbent oil. That's because don't mess up your makeup.
DEMI LOVATO [00:15:54] I've only ever used their cream and the spray. And the spray, the dewey spray is really nice.
JVN [00:16:01] Purple bottle. [CROSSTALK] Yeah, yes, yes, yes. I love that story. OK, ok. Not to be one of those people that's, like, “In my book,” but in my book, I talk a lot about this idea of, like, a lot of my really joyful, especially, like, childhood memories and, like, adolescent memories, they come in a time where, like, they also live next to something like really big grieving moments and, like, moments that were really hard for me. And I talk a lot about this idea that, like, sometimes the proximity of something that's been difficult next to something that’s been really joyous, like, doesn’t invalidate the joy but it makes me have this voice that's, like, sometimes just makes me feel some kind of way about experiencing my joy. But it's, like, these hard times do not invalidate how far I’ve come. Yeah, so that's just, like, my-, I don't know if that's, like, your thing, but is there just any moments of, like, just joy or victory that you thought stand out for you.
DEMI LOVATO [00:16:56] Yes. I mean, I always think of, I think of times in my career where I've felt very accomplished. You know, that's always something that I look forward to looking back on. But I think the moments where I have found complete joy and serenity, like on my own, outside of the industry, whether it's on vacation with my best friends or it's watching TV with my family, it's those simple moments that keep me happy and keep me sane, to be honest. Because this life is so, it's so full-on in this industry. And when I'm able to take myself outside of it and look at my life for what it is, you know, just me, I realize that I'm enough, and that I'm perfectly, you know, perfectly good on my own.
JVN [00:18:04] It brings up this idea of, like, just being present and being, like, feeling accepting of that idea that, like, we're right where we're meant to be.
DEMI LOVATO [00:18:13] Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And that's how I feel. I feel like I'm exactly where I, I am supposed to be. You know, I've been, I've gotten through so much, but I also am able to look at my life and, and think, “Wow, I've had a lot of joy in it, too.”
JVN [00:18:33] So, like, things are-, like, red carpets are fun. Like, yes, fun. Like, it's, like, it's really, really fun. When I was doing hair full time, it was, like, even more fun because then I could just, like, go do the hair and then, like, do their touch ups and then I could, like, go home afterwards. I also didn't have to, like, aggressively, like, talk about myself, and like, all the projects that I've been doing. And it's, like, and also I feel like maybe it's because I've never actually won an Emmy. And all the times I've been nominated, I lost. And I'm like, you're hungry and you're just, like, really trying to eat some pizza. You're like, “Where's the pizza?” And it's just, like, it takes four hours. And you're like, “I thought this is going to be like…” Is there anything that, like, we as super fans would think is, like, really fucking fun, but in reality, like, is maybe not as fun. Unless that makes us sound ungrateful because I don't mean to sound ungrateful. I love my career and I love my opportunities and stuff, and I don't want them to go away. But sometimes you just need a snack, and you just need to eat a snack in your purse on those red carpets, honey!
DEMI LOVATO [00:19:38] Yes! I think the, the most common misconception about, like, “the industry” is thinking that award shows are, like, the funnest, coolest thing. And they're fun, don't get me wrong. But most of the time you're in heels that really hurt. You're in an outfit that doesn't feel that comfortable.
JVN [00:20:01] Sweating places you never knew you could sweat before.
DEMI LOVATO [00:20:05] Sweating in places you didn't know could sweat. You have tape in places that you didn't know need taping. You-, and it’s just, like, it's uncomfortable. And the whole, every time I go to an awards show, all I can think about is getting home to my dogs and my sweatpants and whatever food I want to eat.
JVN [00:20:26] I love my dogs. I love sweatpants.
DEMI LOVATO [00:20:28] I know, my dogs are so much better than any afterparty I could go to.
JVN [00:20:33] How many babies do you have? What are their names?
DEMI LOVATO [00:20:35] I have two.
JVN [00:20:37] That's what I thought.
DEMI LOVATO [00:20:38] Yes, I have Batman and Cinderella.
JVN [00:20:41] Oh my God. How old are they?
DEMI LOVATO [00:20:44] Batman is six and Cinderella is four.
JVN [00:20:48] Those are such great ages! Young, flirty, thriving. I'm obsessed with that. Yeah, I love puppies. So wait, when you, like, travel and stuff, do they come? Or do or do they get stressed out by it?
DEMI LOVATO [00:201:02] No, I bring them as, as often as I can. If it's, like, a quick trip, I don't really take them. I leave them with my mom or, you know, the dog sitter, who else wants to watch them. But I, yeah, I, I don't know, I-, if it's, like, a longer trip or, like, tour, I definitely bring them along.
JVN [00:21:26] OK, I have a question about tour. This one time, not to name drop, but I'm, like, I love Kelsea Ballerini, who doesn't, can’t help it. And this one time when I was shooting Queer Eye, she came to this concert or this place right next door where we were living. And then I was like, “Queen, I love you so much,” like, in her DMs. And she was like, “Oh my God come over here.” And then that was the first time that I've ever been in, like, a fierce ass tour bus. Because, like, it's different than a comedian tour bus. Even though, I mean, my tour bus is not-, because it was everything. But honey, those musicians tour busses, they're there, like, they’re cute.
DEMI LOVATO [00:22:00] They’re cute!
JVN [00:22:01] What's your favorite thing about, like, your most favoritest bus tour bus that you’ve ever been on?
DEMI LOVATO [00:22:07] I think, one time that I had Dolly Parton's tour bus over in Europe and she had, like, a chandelier in a bathroom, like, over a bathtub, that, like, you had to go through the bathroom to get to, like, the back room.
JVN [00:22:25] Why is this story making me cry. I'm literally tearing up, I can’t take it, I can’t take it. I'm only one degree away from Dolly Parton. I'm going to have a nervous breakdown. It's OK. This is not about you, let Demi talk. Oh, my God. You literally-, I literally have. I just had to wipe away, like, literal tears.
DEMI LOVATO [00:22:40] Oh, my God, you're so cute.
JVN [00:22:42] You guys were in the same tour bus. I can’t handle it.
DEMI LOVATO [00:22:44] I guess so! It was, like, this double decker tour bus in Europe that I used for a European tour. And yeah, it was, it was pretty it was pretty great.
JVN [00:22:58] So I think part of why that literally made me emotional is because, like, I have literally, like, wanted to like, just talk to Dolly Parton. We post about it, like, we post about it, like, every Sunday on our Getting Curious Instagram for, like, a really long time. Like, I think we got blocked by. I'm just kidding. She didn't block us, but, like, we just, like, I love her so much. It's, literally, like, talk about someone who I love so much. It hurts my queer bones. I think it's like the songwriting, slash the wigs, slash the ability to be literally Dolly Parton. Like, can we even? Like...
DEMI LOVATO [00:23:32] Slash the full sleeves of sequins!
JVN [00:23:37] I saw her at the Hollywood Bowl this one time and it was, like, such a magical experience, it was so amazing. I was literally just, like, “Oh, my God, this is, like, the most…” And then I just, like, walked home afterwards and it was, like, and no one really, like, walks in L.A., but it was, like, such a good walk. Like, I remember the best walk. [CROSSTALK] OK, so what does-, so obviously there's harmony in song and, you know, I can't harmonize, although this one time-, I keep talking about myself. My makeup artist Patty did successfully teach me how to harmonize for, like, three weeks, but then something happened and it, like, went away.
DEMI LOVATO [00:24:13] OK, so back to that question. Do you want to learn how?
JVN [00:24:19] Well, I didn't want to put you on-, I didn't want to like you're, like, a literal fucking international world renown, like, I didn’t want to ask you for, like, a free goddamn singing lesson and be a nightmare.
DEMI LOVATO [00:24:30] No, I don't really know how to teach people how to harmonize, but I can try to, like...
JVN [00:24:39] Because you just know how to hear it, cause you’re a musician.
DEMI LOVATO [00:24:40] I do, but I'm trying to think of a way that, like, you can, like, if you, if you do... [SINGING] Wait, that was close! [SINGING] Oh, yeah, there you go.
JVN [00:24:57] My friend Patty taught me how to do this thing where you're, like... [SINGING] Was that it? I can’t tell! [CROSSTALK] And there was, like, three weeks where I could do it, but then it went away.
DEMI LOVATO [00:25:13] No, but you just did it! You did it so great. You did it just now, like-
JVN [00:25:18] All the blood’s rushing to my head! I’m gonna pass out!
DEMI LOVATO [00:25:20] You hit the note, though, right?
JVN [00:25:23] I think I kind of did.
DEMI LOVATO [00:25:25] I think you did. I think you did. I think that we learned how to harmonize.
JVN [00:25:31] Do I have to rename all my series of musicians for because I accidentally did learn how to harmonize and maybe it didn't go away when Patty taught me how to do it in the pandemmy of 2020 even though we’re still in it, but, like, in the 2020 phase? I did, it was in those three weeks, like, in, like, August of last year.
DEMI LOVATO [00:25:47] And you learned? That's when you learned.
JVN [00:25:50] Yeah. It was, like, three weeks in August but then in September, like, it went away.
DEMI LOVATO [00:25:55] Okay, September was a shit month for, like, a lot of people. So just, like, don't worry about September.
JVN [00:26:00] It was the stress of, like, the election and stuff, and, like...
DEMI LOVATO [00:26:03] Yeah, it was the stress of the election. It was, like, like, accidental relationships. Yeah, you know, like, that stuff.
JVN [00:26:11] I didn't mean to meander, actually, because you know what it is. Sometimes, do you watch Westworld? Do you watch Westworld?
DEMI LOVATO [00:26:21] I watched it in the very beginning, when it first came out. I watched, like, three or four episodes.
JVN [00:26:25] Okay, okay, I don't know if it's just, like, me or whatever. Like, some people, I am, like, kind of really into it. But there was this stretch where you had to be like, “Come on!” But if you do, because it's kind of, like, “Oh, come on.” Like if you got right there, when it probably, like, rubbed up against that, like, “What the fuck?” but then when it fucks, it fucks good. And you're, like, “Oh, that was worth it,” you know what I'm saying. You know, there's, like, some but there's this. I can't say it now because-, let me just think about this, really quick. So there's just this, like, thing about the robots in Westworld where, like, they don't really, like, see stuff that hurts them..
DEMI LOVATO [00:27:05] OK. Yes!
JVN [00:27:06] Like, hurts their feelings. So, like, I, in that way, just block out that stuff, like, when there’s someone who I love or really care about, I just, like, literally, like, there's, like, certain parts of, like, you know. You know what I have to say. This boy, who’s so cute, you have to follow him on Instagram. He's just, like, this really funny principal. He posted this thing last year that said, “You can't blame me if I flirted with you because I thought the world was ending.” It was, like, something to that effect.
DEMI LOVATO [00:27:37] Honestly, you can’t blame me for...
JVN [00:27:41] It's true.
DEMI LOVATO [00:27:43] You can't blame me.
JVN [00:27:44] That’s just how, like, the cookie crumbles sometimes and everything.
DEMI LOVATO [00:27:47] And especially when you think the whole world is crumbling, you hold onto the cookie.
JVN [00:27:51] You do, even if it, like, already went in the milk, honey. And it got all soggy and stuff.
DEMI LOVATO [00:27:56] It’s all soggy, no chocolate chips, just one in there. Just one, a one small one.
JVN [00:28:02] But it turns out to be shit. And then you’re, like, “This is a goddam shit cookie, and I don’t even want this fucking goddam cookie anymore.” And not to have, like, such another hard right, but can I just say, like, I want to give a slow clap to oatmeal chocolate chip cookies because I feel like those…
DEMI LOVATO [00:28:15] Wow.
JVN [00:28:17] See, are you, like, you know, one of these people that doesn't like it?
DEMI LOVATO [00:28:20] No, I like oatmeal! [CROSSTALK] You're right. You're right. But you know what? Oatmeal raisin really doesn’t get enough credit.
JVN [00:28:27] I love oatmeal raisin, too. I love oatmeal raisin, too. Trader Joe's does, like, the best oatmeal chocolate chip vegan cookie that, like, when I was vegan, basically made up like three quarters of my caloric intake. I couldn't help it, I was just, like, obsessed. OK wait, I was also just going to say because I thought it, like, 18 times and, you know, people maybe will see this on social but, like, if you're just listening to this, this one sexy curl right here on your forehead and your green eye shadow today. [CROSSTALK] Oh, my God. If you don’t look at the ‘gram, you should look at it. Today's the day this year. Like, you did not come to play. OK, wait. I can't believe that we learned how to harmonize, So obviously there’s, like, harmony and singing and I feel like you said earlier and, honey, god damn is it true. I we're not totally I mean we're kind of in the same industry but, like, you're just, like, literally you, which is, like, pretty fucking major, like, and I'm you know, I just I'm just not trying to put myself in your league. Cause we’re just, not-
DEMI LOVATO [00:29:28] You’re literally hair Jesus.
JVN [00:29:30] I'm not going to be delusional. But, like, you're just like this. There's, like, literally, you're timeless. You can't help. But it's like, oh, my god, it’s no issue. But here's the thing. So I haven't noticed, I have learned a lot since, you know, I've come into the public sphere. I've done a lot of things I never thought would be for me. And I think that for you, it must be so different because you have been doing this since you were such a young person. And that is just, I honestly, and this is one thing, again, not to be like, “ugh,” but when you read and see shit about yourself, it really traumatizes you in a way that, like, you can just never be ready to see people tear you apart the way that people tear you apart when you're a public figure. Because you really are-, you're a person.
And it it really does hurt so bad, like, it hurts so fucking bad. And so that has been something for me that I really feel like I've been going through lately where I feel like it's been-, I really had to negotiate, like: “What are you willing to share? What are you willing to be vulnerable about?” Because sometimes that criticism, when you are really vulnerable, it hurts so bad that it can, like, it-, just, those public moments, just, it is really intense. So harmony is not only, like, harmonizing ferociously, which I cannot believe you literally just did. But in terms of, like, work-life balance, and career, and self-care, what does harmony mean to you? Like, outside of music and finding that harmony for yourself?
DEMI LOVATO [00:30:57] Harmony to me is the synergy of my life. It's the-, it’s how my life flows without the music. And when that, when I put my career on hold, or when I put my, my music on hold, my career, all of that. How is my life flowing? And that's that's how I check in with myself. And, you know, when, when it's flowing really well, I have a lot to be proud of, and a lot to be thankful for, because I have been through I have been through a lot. But luckily my spirituality has, like, grown over the years. And so I feel that even though I've been through a lot, spiritually, I've come out the other side and, and I feel that's where I measure the harmony of my life is how I feel when the music is off.
JVN [00:32:00] OK, wait. Speaking of music: “Dancing with the Devil… The Art Of Starting Over.” [CROSSTALK] I can't: yes, royalty, yes. OK, so, what was your fave? What was the hardest? But also it can be, like, a “both and,” I’m sure it’s a lot of things.
DEMI LOVATO [00:32:22] Well, some of my favorite songs didn't actually make the album because, like, I was going to release a second album around this time of year. Because I had collected so many song, I collected, like, 30 songs for this album and we ended up putting, like, 20 on the album. But then I still had, like, 10 to 15 songs that I didn't use. And so it was just trying to figure out, like, how that works. Also what direction I want to go now: if it's the same, if it's if it's not. I don't know. I had a lot of decisions to make, so I didn't-, some of my, some of my favorite songs made the album. Some of them didn't. There's, like, there's a song called “It's All Good” that I really like that's on my album. There's another song that didn't make my album called “Let's Hang Out in My Dreams.” And it's just, like, a really fun, trippy, like, song.
JVN [00:33:32] It sounds good!
DEMI LOVATO [00:33:34] Thanks! I can't wait to play it for you. Thank you.
JVN [00:33:38] I don't know about the music industry, really, but is there, like, do you ever just wish that when you're on tour, you could just, like, go, like, once in a while and not have to do it for, like, three months in a row?
DEMI LOVATO [00:33:39] Yes. There are times where I'm, like, the-, where we’ll be on tour and it gets really tiring or taxing. And it's kind of, like, sometimes I wish I could just do one-off performances, but I know that you-, I always want what I can't have.
JVN [00:34:08] Who doesn’t!
DEMI LOVATO [00:34:09] So when I'm on tour, when I'm on tour, I want time off and when I'm off, then I want to be on tour. So I just kind of understand that it's going to be the opposite of what I'm doing and just deal with it.
JVN [00:34:24] It's, like, “God, being human! Why are you like that for us?” It's true. We do that. We can help. OK wait, so I love, I mean, I think, you know, obviously we're both non-binary people, which I'm obsessed with. And I also think that I've just learned so much about myself and the binary’s place in how we got here, kind of as a whole, and I mean, I know that we both, like, love ALOK, and I think I, I think about how much ALOK’s, like, friendship has just changed me in my life, and opened me to so many other parts of myself that I always knew were there, but never could, like, articulate.
DEMI LOVATO [00:35:07] Yeah, absolutely.
JVN [00:35:08] Which, I love that. And I love that, like, kind of, I always had this fear of, like, you don't always, I just, like, literally had rhetorical fireworks, just, like, “You don't have to, like, say, like, your position on it before you ask a question, nightmare.” But I just love how everyone has their own unique experience with their gender expression. And I'm so inspired by people who are willing to go on that journey of authenticity and with themselves. I think that there's just a lot of unlearning that-, and willingness to unlearn or learn, however you look at it, for people that live outside the gender binary, when ultimately I think that, like, at our root, I think everyone does. But we've just, like, been conditioned, like, not to live outside of it or, like, live it on our own terms in so many different ways. So what has this been like for you since you've come out and lived as an outwardly non-binary person? Do you-, how does it feel? What does it feel like for you?
DEMI LOVATO [00:36:06] For me, it feels, it feels, it feels wonderful. And I'm so happy that so many people have been so open and accepting of me coming out as non-binary. You know, obviously there's been the naysayers, but you kind of deal with that in every part of your life. There's always going to be someone that doesn't approve of something and whatever. But as long as I'm living my truth, like, that's all that matters to me. And, and I feel more spiritually balanced than ever before. So I feel like it's been a really good thing for me.
JVN [00:36:46] I love that for you.
DEMI LOVATO [00:36:48] Thank you.
JVN [00:36:49] I also love that for us!
DEMI LOVATO [00:36:51] Yes!
JVN [00:36:52] We can’t help it! So, what are you excited for? What, what are you. Is there anything that you, like, that, like, you haven't gotten to do when you grow up that you, like, want to do?
DEMI LOVATO [00:37:05] I don't know. I think that, I think that I'm, I'm still ever evolving and growing, and, I don't know, I think that I still have yet to figure out what I want for my thirties and forties and fifties and, and I feel like that'll change over time. But, like, I'm excited to see where that takes me.
JVN [00:37:30] You know what I just realized? I have this, like, affliction that when people are younger than me, like, I permanently stop aging them at some point. Like, my little cousin Sullivan is only, like, two years younger than me. But, and so, like, she's probably, like, thirty-two. But in my mind, she's, like, twenty-three and, like, hasn't, like, she's definitely still twenty-three but she's definitely, like, thirty-two. You couldn't, I’m, like, “You couldn’t almost be in your thirties.” Isn't that, like,
DEMI LOVATO [00:37:58] I’m twenty-, I just turned twenty nine.
JVN [00:38:01] I knew that because I follow you, but I guess it still didn’t, like, all the way get through from this side of my head all the way over to this one.
DEMI LOVATO [00:38:08] Sometimes people are, like, “How old are you?” And I'm, like, “Eighteen!”
JVN [00:38:13] I mean parts of us are, like, “I thought I was!” My husband, like, forgot that he was the age that he was for a year. Like, he was, like, thirty-three. He thought that he was, like, thirty-two. So really he went from, like, thirty-two to thirty-four because he just, like, forgot this one year. I just, like, I guess it just happens. But, so, what are you excited for? What's happening? Actually, the other thing I was thinking about that is that I think you, like, actually literally done everything. You've done telly, you've done every kind of music.
DEMI LOVATO [00:38:42] I've never done Broadway.
JVN [00:38:46] Yeah, I was just thinking: Broadway.
DEMI LOVATO [00:38:46] I've never done Broadway.
JVN [00:38:47] What’s your dream Broadway role? In a non-pandemic world, like, you know, in a few years or, like, if it had never happened, just, like, a perfect dream world.
DEMI LOVATO [00:38:58] I would say, I’m just going to go with the easiest: Elphaba.
JVN [00:39:02] Classic!
DEMI LOVATO [00:39:04] You know, that would have been so much fun, but I think for me, Broadway scares me because it's, like, you have to have-, your voice has to be on point, like, every single night. You don't have a day off to, like, rest your voice if you're on Broadway.
JVN [00:39:19] This is, like, one of those worlds, though, where, like, you get, like, a million dollars tax-free, like, if you land the triple. Like, it's, like, you get to, like, in this question, like, like, dream world, like, your voice just is there and it doesn't get ruined afterwards or anything from, like, strain and misuse and overuse, like, voice injuries. Like, it's just totally fine.
DEMI LOVATO [00:39:35] Then Elphaba.
JVN [00:39:35] Yeah, yeah. Yeah. OK, so then in that case, like, what would be your second. and third. lightning round, really fast.
DEMI LOVATO [00:39:41] Something in Dear Evan Hansen, because I love Dear Evan Hansen. Yes. Probably like the sister. And then I guess the third would be like... I don't know enough Broadway.
JVN [00:39:56] I know, I was just thinking I need to, like, I want to be more of a musical theater nerd, but I'm really only like a musical theater nerd’s, like, third cousin.
DEMI LOVATO [00:40:04] Me, too! Me, too!
JVN [00:40:06] And, like, I wish I was, like, one, but, like, I love musical theater when I, like, hear it and stuff. I'm trying to think! I feel like my two friends Chris and Nate are probably going to be, like, really embarrassed and mortified when they're listening to this part of this episode right now. Well, you know, it's literally going to be a nightmare, but not you, they’re gonna be, like, “Girl, we taught you better than that!”
DEMI LOVATO [00:40:26] That's OK. That's OK. Because, look, I found that the musicals that I tend to like, like Dear Evan Hansen, isn't that, like, show tuney, you know what I mean? Like, the only reason why I like show tunes is because I grew up doing beauty pageants. So I'm, I'm familiar with a lot of the songs that are sung on Broadway, but I don't know the actual, like, show that they’re in. I just know the words. So I feel like, I don't know, I feel like I can get away with a little bit but, but yeah, the musicals that I tend to like are, like, Dear Evan Hansen, where it's not really that much of a show tune kind of musical.
JVN [00:41:12] Okay, wait, and then, not to be, like, a predictable, like, nightmare. But if you like, could do, like, some other profession that's just, like, not entertainment in, like, a world where like there's like no consequences and you just get to, like, Erin Brockovich, honey, you're, like, a lawyer, you're like president, you're, like, Olympic gold medal volleyball player. What would be, like, the thing that you would want to do if it wasn't entertainment. Completely unrelated. Final question, swear to God!
DEMI LOVATO [00:41:40] Hmm, I would want, if I could, I would quit my job, and just meditate all day.
JVN [00:41:51] Yeah, that would be really fun.
DEMI LOVATO [00:41:53] I mean, like, it's not, like, the most, like, sparkly answer that I could have given you, but I do have fantasies where I just, like, retire at 30 and I just go on, like, this Yogi lifestyle, where I just travel the world meditating and trying to spot UFOs. Like, that's my dream life.
JVN [00:42:17] I want to do that except for needlepoint on the beach, like, but needlepoint. But also I love a lot of the other things I'm doing right now, so I just, like, I think I actually just want to do that, like, for a week every other month, like, meditation fantasy. I know that you shouldn't lie to your students when you’re doing a yoga class. They always taught us that when I was a yoga teacher, and I know I said that was my last question but: are you, do you like the Olympics? Do you have any favorite Olympic sports? No? Do you not care about the Olympics?
DEMI LOVATO [00:42:44] The Olympics? I'm not one that actually turns on the Olympics. But! But! I do love watching the ice skating. I love watching the gymnastics. And also the, the curling.
JVN [00:43:00] Ah! I wish I understood, I don't get it. I don't know how it works.
DEMI LOVATO [00:43:05] I don’t, I just kind of wish in my head that it goes in a certain way.
JVN [00:43:11] You know, that’s a really good Getting Curious episode. I need to, like, interview a curler because, like, how much does that sweeping really do anything? Like, what are you doing with those little sweepies?
DEMI LOVATO [00:43:21] And is it all in your consciousness? Like are you, are you moving with your brain? Are you manifesting where it goes?
JVN [00:43:27] Alex Mack, honey!
DEMI LOVATO [00:43:27] Alex Mack!
JVN [00:43:33] Yes! “Stop moving!” I love Alex Mack, but not as much as I love you. Demi Lovato. Thank you so much, I can’t even believe I said those words. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast. I'm so grateful for your time and for your energy and for your talent and for sharing it with people. I love you so much.
DEMI LOVATO [00:43:46] Love you!
JVN [00:43:50] You’ve been listening to Getting Curious with me, Jonathan Van Ness. My guest this week was Demi Lovato.
You’ll find links to their work in the episode description of whatever you’re listening to the show on.
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Getting Curious is produced by me, Erica Getto, and Emily Bossak.