Pop star Demi Lovato brings her ‘Neon Lights’ tour — and personal triumphs — to Chicago.
The Disney Channel has tween entertainment down to a science: Over the past decade, it’s churned out stars like Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato. But as Lovato learned firsthand, skyrocketing from an unknown Dallas teen to TV star and pop phenom doesn’t come without its challenges. In late 2010, in the midst of an international tour with the Jonas Brothers, Lovato spiraled out of control, leading to a three-month rehab stint for emotional and physical treatment. But three years later, Lovato is back on top, headlining her first tour — and she’s using her star power to share her story with other young women. “I’m grateful for my struggles,” she says. “I’ve had the opportunity to be a positive influence for others, and that’s something that inspires me every day.”
Lovato, 21, is tapping into her past battles in a number of ways: In October, she released a best-selling book of affirmations titled Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year, and she’s currently penning a memoir in hopes that her experiences will help others overcome their own issues. “[My] personal experiences connect me with my fans. It allows them to relate to me,” she says. That candid, empathetic attitude explains the fierce loyalty Lovato inspires in her many admirers, who stuck by her during her Disney days on “Sonny With a Chance,” her two years as a judge on “The X Factor,” her regular guest spots on “Glee” and, most meaningfully, her darker moments.
With her faithful supporters in mind, Lovato is determined to bring her A-game to her show at the Allstate Arena March 14. “It’s much more personal than any other tour, since I co-wrote most of the songs,” she says.“ ‘Neon Lights’ is the showstopper.” Lovato hints at high-energy highlights like an interactive laser show, but the singer is most excited to showcase her talents for a Chicago audience. “I’ve spent a lot of time in Chicago, and it’s one of the most energetic cities in the States.”
Though she’s proven her mettle as an actress and best-selling author, Lovato maintains her true passion is music. “I started singing [when I was] 5 years old. My first performance was at a talent show and I remember it like it was yesterday,” she says. “At that moment, I realized I wanted to perform for the rest of my life.” Despite the highly publicized bumps on her road to success, it’s likely the rebounding star will do just that. “My plan is to continue to create new music and meet the young lives that tell me I’ve inspired them,” she says. “It’s truly rewarding.”
See Demi March 14 at the Allstate Arena. For tickets, starting at $35, visit Ticketmaster.com.
Demi’s music faves
• Ed Sheeran (left): “He’s one of my favorite up-and-coming musicians at the moment.”
• Daniella Mason
• Fifth Harmony
• Jhene Aiko
A songbird’s snacks
• “I’ve been trying to eat healthy, so lots of fruits, veggies and almonds. My fridge is filled with fresh juices. I also love Glutino chocolate-covered pretzels (left), dried mangos and coconut water.”
Demi’s makeup bag
• Benefit Erase Paste concealer ($26, 852 W. Armitage; Benefitcosmetics.com)
• Givenchy Noir Couture mascara ($32, Sephora, 108 N. State; Sephora.com)
• Anastasia Beverly Hills brow powder ($23, Ulta, 3015 N. Clark; Ulta.com)
• Unite 7-Second Detangler ($21.95, Ethan James, 1471 W. Grand; Ethanjamessalon.com)