Demi Lovato has bounced back in a big way.
Not only did she wrap a season as a judge on The X Factor in December, she’s also gearing up for the release of a new unnamed album. In fact, Lovato’s first single off the record, which doesn’t yet have a release date, is already climbing the charts: “Heart Attack” debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at no. 12 earlier this month.
The star, 20, is using her success to help mentor a teen in her second year with ACUVUE’s 1-Day contest. “This project is really important to me because I love mentoring,” she said. “I got to experience the mentoring last year and I went on to mentor on The X Factor, so that was really cool.”
Lovato’s public recovery after a 2011 stint in rehab for eating disorders and self-harm has become a way for her to set an example for teenage girls. “I’m always trying to be an inspiration to girls who have dealt with the same issues that I’ve had and let them know that nothing is impossible,” she said.
The singer talked to Parade.com about her plans for the future, whether she’ll be back for another season of The X Factor, and how her new album is the best thing she’s ever done.
On who her mentor was growing up.
“I didn’t know her at the time, but it’s Kelly Clarkson. I just thought she was a great role model. She was never publicly seen drinking and driving or wearing really scandalous clothes or anything like that. I feel like she set a really great example and she was extremely talented.”
On whether she’ll be back as an X Factor judge.
“I would love to. I had so much fun on that show. If they asked me to come back, I’d probably say yes.”
On L.A. Reid and Britney Spears leaving The X Factor.
“I’m really bummed that they left because if I get to go back and work, I obviously would want them to be there. It’s their careers and they started off doing music so they’ve got to focus on what they started off doing.”
On what she learned from judging The X Factor.
“The biggest thing I learned from that season was not being afraid to listen to people. I don’t always have it right all the time. I think a part of mentoring and a part of growing up is just learning from your mistakes as well and admitting them and trying to change them, too. There are a lot of times where I didn’t put my artist in the best clothing or had them sing the right song, but at the same time, it was a new experience for me and I learned a lot from it.”
On starring on The X Factor after leaving rehab.
“I wish I had waited to go back on camera a little longer, but it ended up working out great and I didn’t have any issues with it. Luckily, that was the way that it turned out.”
On her plans for the next few years.
“I think I’m going to work really, really hard for the next couple years and then after that, just settle down and either have a family, or travel the world and do just a bunch of charity stuff, and just spend time with my family. I want to make sure I’m living my life to the fullest and make sure I give myself the opportunity to achieve my dreams, but I don’t want to deprive myself of life, family and love.”
On her edgy new look for her “Heart Attack” single release.
“It’s just more of who I am. I always stick to wear a lot of black and rocking out on guitars when I perform. I go to events and I’ll dress elegantly, but when I perform on stage, I tend to keep it edgy because that’s the persona that comes out of me when I perform.”
On how this album is different from her past records.
“I think this album is just all-around better than anything I’ve ever done. I think it’s been a trial-and-error process with my music and just trying to figure out who I am. I’m slowly but surely, as my career goes on, figuring more of that out, and I think I got a pretty good idea of where I’m at today and things I want to talk about.”
On the new sound she’s going for.
“The sound is going to be different. There are differences between each song. Some kind of have a rock vibe to them, some are just really raw, they don’t have any background vocals and it’s just me and guitar and strings. And there are some that are dance songs. Everything is different, but ultimately I just wanted it to be good pop music.”
On the other artists who inspired the album.
“Kelly Clarkson has been my inspiration my whole life basically since she first auditioned for American Idol. She’s a big one. Jessie J as well. And I also am a huge fan of Rihanna, even though I don’t know if a lot of my music necessarily sounds like hers. A lot of people have inspired this album.”