What ever happened to those dorky mouse ears? These days Disney is churning out a plethora of young talented hotties, and triple threat Demi Lovato is no exception. The Latin lovely croons, dances and acts for the iconic entertainment brand, along with fellow pop culture sensations, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez and the Jonas Brothers, with whom she is currently on tour.
There was a purity to my conversation with Demi Lovato, revisiting the world through the eyes of an eighteen year old full of excitement about simply doing what she loves, entertaining other young people around the world. It's as though she is in her school's drama club and the world just happens to be her stage.
While most kids her age are busy readying themselves for their first semester of college, Demi Lovato is well on her way to becoming her own cottage industry, a choice she insists was just right for her when I questioned her about missing the traditional school experience.
Demi and I discussed her passion for reaching out to people her own age, whether through her music, stage and screen performances, or through her involvement in a non-profit organization that supports teens who are victims of bullying. The one constant theme I picked up on is Demi Lovato's desire to be a role model, in striking contrast to most young stars who shun that responsibility. Demi embraces it.
PR.com (Allison Kugel): Can you walk me through the show for your summer tour with the Jonas Brothers? Aside from opening for them, how many Camp Rock numbers do you have on stage together?
Demi Lovato: There's a lot of numbers on stage for Camp Rock. So you'll have to wait and see about that, and then there's going to be some surprises. I'm really excited! This tour is going to be so much more theatrical than any other tour that I've done.
PR.com: Are you into a lot of choreography, or are you more comfortable just singing when you are on stage?
Demi Lovato: I love to sing, but I love dancing too, so I want to be able to split the difference.
PR.com: How much of this concert tour is going to be Camp Rock and how much of it will be from your own solo albums?
Demi Lovato: We're doing a lot of surprises, but I don't want to give anything away!
PR.com: How is the third album that you are working on different from your first two albums, and how have you grown as a musical artist?
Demi Lovato: Not just as an artist, but as a person, I have grown a lot over the past year. So I've done more things, and I have a lot more to write about, so there is a new element. And I do a lot of [the writing].
PR.com: As far as Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, does that title mean that this is the final installment?
Demi Lovato: That's a question we've had for the writers the entire time (laughs).
PR.com: Is there a particular scene or musical number in Camp Rock 2 that you are particularly excited for fans to see?
Demi Lovato: In the movie, "It's On" is a very powerful dance song. I can't wait for everyone to see it.
PR.com: Does any of your family join you on tour at all?
Demi Lovato: Definitely. They try to come out as much as possible. My little sister (actress Madison De La Garza) is on Desperate Housewives, so sometimes my mom gets stuck with her there. But for the most part, my dad is always on the road with me.
PR.com: Do you feel pressure to keep your lyrics age appropriate so people don't judge you, and comment that your music is too mature or advanced for a girl who is only about eighteen?
Demi Lovato: Well, eighteen is the age where you become an adult, so it's funny to think about that. But for the most part, I don't want to put anything in my songs that my little sister would feel uncomfortable listening to. Whether it's dance moves on stage or it's lyrics in my songs, I always ask her if it's ok, you know? I'll say, "Is this something that you and your friends would be disappointed in hearing me sing?" And she would say, "No." She's never said yes (laughs).
PR.com: (Laughs) Awww...
Demi Lovato: But I definitely wouldn't want to make her feel uncomfortable. And basically, it's not really pressure from other people. It's just wanting to make my little sister proud.
PR.com: Being a teenager with such a big career and a packed schedule, do you ever long for some normalcy? Do you feel like you just want to take a break and get away from things for a day or a week?
Demi Lovato: I have a really great team around me and they definitely listen when I say, "I need a day off," or "I need a vacation." There's never any fighting or arguing about trying to make time for it. They listen right away, and that's really rare and really incredible to find in this industry, but I'm kind of a workaholic. When it comes to working and going on vacation I want to continue to [work]. When I go on vacation I get bored, and I want to come home and do more. There's so much more I can be doing. I love this, you know? It's just tiring and it gets long sometimes, but it is definitely worth it. I can't remember the last time I was working all day and it was miserable. I've been having an amazing time, even if it's dancing for hours on end, I'm having a really great time.
PR.com: They say that if it doesn't feel like work then you are definitely doing the right thing.
Demi Lovato: And it doesn't. Sometimes it does because you're putting so much into it, but for the most part it doesn't feel like work at all.
PR.com: What's your favorite social thing to do when you are on the road, in between shows, and you have some time to yourself?
Demi Lovato: I just like writing in the back of the bus or listening to music. Music is such a huge part of my life on and off stage. And also, if my family is on the bus with me I love to sit and chat with them.
PR.com: What's in your iPod right now?
Demi Lovato: I've been recently listening to a lot of country music which is really random, but I think it's just because I miss Texas (laughs).
PR.com: Are all of the Disney stars kind of like family at this point?
Demi Lovato: Not so much family, it's more of an incredible bond between a lot of us, and I really appreciate it. A lot of the people that are on Disney channel these days I have known since I was about ten or eleven. That's when I started acting. Now all of them are taking off and it's really great to be able to sit back and watch that.
PR.com: Most young people have their high school social life or their college social life. Is this your substitute for all for that?
Demi Lovato: Yeah. But at the same time it's the kind of life I would love to have, anyway. I dreamed about this life and now I'm living it, so it's really incredible. I don't really miss out on a lot of things. I'm presented with crazy opportunities that I cannot say no to. They're amazing.
PR.com: And the organization, Teens Against Bullying (teensagainstbullying.org), how did you first find out about it?
Demi Lovato: I found about it through a company called Pacer. It's a charity organization that tries to make people aware of a lot of issues, one of which is bullying, something that I am very passionate about and I want to be able to help kids with. If you watch the news there are a lot of young kids taking their own lives because of the pain that they dealt with. The last thing I would want is for one of my fans to do that, and I'm going to provide them with outlets for how to get over it and take care of it, and move on. And to also make other teenagers in school aware of how powerful their words can be.
PR.com: You, yourself, were bullied in school. What kind of bullying did you experience?
Demi Lovato: The kind of bullying that I experienced when I was in school is really catty girls. It was like [the movie] Mean Girls, but serious! It was not funny at all.
PR.com: How does this organization reach out to young people who are being bullied, and what kind of resources do they offer?
Demi Lovato: The resources it has to offer is a lot of outlets to talk to other teens, trying to get teens' minds off of it, and to not stoop down to [a bully's] level, but to focus on what they love doing whether that is playing sports or writing music; teaching teens to focus on the [positive]. That way they can achieve more in life then you would if you were trying to fight back.
PR.com: In the Camp Rock movies, your character is kind of a social underdog, and she gains acceptance through her beautiful singing voice. When you were growing up did you use your singing voice to gain social acceptance in school or in camp?
Demi Lovato: I went to camp, but it wasn't necessarily something I used to gain social acceptance. It's just a part of who I was and who I am today. I like to be able to express myself through my music, and when people can relate to it, it feels incredible. My friends just knew that it was a part of who I was.
PR.com: You are part Latina?
Demi Lovato: I'm Hispanic. My family is from Spain...
PR.com: Are you bilingual, and do you ever plan to put out any Spanish-language music?
Demi Lovato: I actually wrote a song with a lot of Spanish in it very recently.
PR.com: During this current tour with the Jonas Brothers, is there a particular city or country that you are most excited to visit? And any specific plans once you're there?
Demi Lovato: I'm just really excited to be all over the world. I love South America so going back is going to be incredible. I also really love Europe, so I can't wait to see all my fans over there.
Demi Lovato is currently on tour with the Jonas Brothers. Visit demilovato.com for concert tour schedule.
"Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam" premieres Friday, September 3rd on the Disney Channel.