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Sunday, Apr 20, 2014
Arts & Music

Demi Lovato bouncing back with new album, Tampa concert


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Like many of her Disney peers — Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers — Demi Lovato has experienced growing pains before the masses. It's not easy to morph from making saccharine sounds meant for kid-rockers to generating adult material with aplomb.

It's a challenge when your childhood is sacrificed while attempting to become a pop singer. Lovato has had her share of issues. She has been dealing with addiction, fame and the pressure of making a solid comeback release.

“Demi,” her latest album, which will be showcased Feb. 26 at the Forum, is full of rousing dance-pop. Like Cyrus' “Bangerz,” there are a number of well produced hook-laden cuts. “Really Don't Care,” “Two Pieces” and “Fire Starter” are catchy gems that play to the charismatic Lovato's strength.

“Something That We're Not” is the standout track, which has anthemic smash written all over it. But “Made in the USA,” could be Lovato's theme.

Lovato, 21, isn't just an American success story. Her mother, Dianna Lee Hart, was a cheerleader for America's team, the Dallas Cowboys, who raised Lovato after her father split.

“That's what I grew up with,” Lovato said. “My mother is an amazing person. She has always been a dynamo. My mom was a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. That's not an easy thing to do. You have to work so hard to be able to do that and be a great mom.”

The work ethic has been passed on. The irrepressible Lovato was a child actress on “Barney & Friends,” along with her friend and fellow pop star Selena Gomez. When not on the set, Lovato took guitar lessons and attended dance and acting classes.

“It was what I wanted to do,” Lovato said. “I had an incredible drive early on. I loved entertainment at an early age, and I had no problem putting in the hours. Performing was always a passion. Despite what people might think, you can't make a child do anything, at least not like I did.”

Lovato became a Disney Channel staple in 2007. After scoring a role in Disney's “As The Bell Rings,” she landed the lead in the 2008 film “Camp Rock” and starred in the sitcom “Sonny With a Chance,” which began in 2009.

However, the following year, Lovato made headlines by going on a hiatus to clean up her act, which effectively ended the show.

There's nothing America loves more than a comeback. It's not just the land of opportunity but also the nation of redemption. Lovato jumped back into the public eye as a judge with “The X Factor,” she has written the book, “Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year” and there is her album and tour.

Don't be surprised if Lovato, who possesses a three-octave range, is around for the long haul. Her vocal talent, stunning looks and work ethic could keep her in the upper echelon of the entertainment world.

But so much depends on whether she can quell her demons and focus on a relentless schedule, which is comprised of writing, recording, touring and her once insatiable appetite for acting.

“I love what I do,” Lovato said. “I'm incredibly blessed and just so thankful that I have such a career.”

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