Demi Lovato shares the story behind 'SUBSTANCE' and the 'rebirth' return to their roots

Tattoos, TikTok, and 'SUBSTANCE' with Demi
By , Audacy

Gearing up to drop their new album, Holy Fvck, Demi Lovato checked in with Audacy to talk all things new music, tattoos, TikTok, and returning to their emo roots.

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Anyone who grew up along and admiring the black eyeliner, heavy bangs, Camp Rock Demi of the early 2000s, surely knows Lovato’s always had Rock roots within them. As their, dare we say iconic, debut 2008 album, Don’t Forget, and 2009 follow-up, Here We Go Again, screamed punk in the angstiest of ways, both of which we still remain, fully here for and occasionally rock out to.

Now, making her return to the music “I started singing when I released my first album, second album…" and two singles under their belt, Demi is spilling all the deets to Audacy’s Bru, ahead of the Holy Fvck’s August 19 debut.

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Getting right to it, to start things off Demi shared the meaning behind the project’s second single, "SUBSTANCE," which they actually had a hand in co-writing.

“I got to write it with my co-writer named Laura Veltz, I also wrote with an artist named Jutes, my producer OAK, and the other producers on the record that we wrote it with were Alex Niceforo and Keith Sorrells. And we had like a really really great time writing this song.”

Demi continued, “it was about — y’know there was just I feel like we live in a world that lacks so much depth, like human connections… were all connecting through social media. And like we won’t see a friend for like 3 years, but we’ll be talking on social media all the time and its like that human connection is what we’re missing.”

“It’s also like intaking the content that we intake,” Demi pointed out, using “trashy reality television” as an example. Rhetorically asking, “it’s like, where is the depth in this world?” Seeking the answer in song form, explaining, “so that’s what I wrote ‘Substance’ about.”

It’s no secret Demi’s previous album Dancing with the Devil... the Art of Starting Over, was a creative expression of doing just that. A culmination of all the experiences that led her to her overdose and near-death incident in 2018.

When asked about how the working and writing process differed on this latest project from their previous, Demi explained. “How it differentiates, this album I’m really proud of, and when I look back at the last album I made, it’s not that I’m not proud of it, it’s just I don’t know who that person was… I think I was really struggling to find my identity as an artist, as a person, and now going into this album with a clear head, I was focused, I was able to write about what was important to me with being clouded by substances. So I just feel more sure of myself as a person, as an artist, and that's why I think this body of work is gonna be the one that I’m the most proud of.”

Speaking of the body of work, out of all the tracks on Holy Fvck (which we’ll get into in a minute), Demi explains why choosing “SKIN OF MY TEETH” as the first single was the move.

“Because the first line… 'Demi leaves rehab again.' I wanted that to be the message of like ‘yeah, I’m back, I’m out, and I don’t know I just wanted it to be like a message,” they said. “I saw the headlines of when I got out of treatment and I just wanted to kinda like make a statement.”

For Demi this project is “a rebirth,” not just personally but also musically. Expressing that “going back to my roots is obviously something that has to do with my music… like the music that I started out making, which was Pop-Rock, influenced by my Warped Tour emo days. So like bringing that back is obviously the rebirth of my music, but as a person, spiritually, everything, like I’ve gone through a lot and I’ve overcome a lot, and I feel like this is me being born again.”

Demi and Bru kept the conversation going talking about everything from Demi’s upcoming tour, to her emo, punk, rock influences (a few of which will actually be joining said tour), and yup you guessed it so much more. All of which can bee seen in the interview at the top.

But as promised, let’s discuss the newly released Holy Fvck tracklist. Just hours ahead of dropping her latest single “SUBSTANCE", which you can check out above, Demi blessed us with their impeding album’s song list which features appearances from YUNGBLUD, Royal and the Serpent, and Dead Sara.

“HOLY FVCK takes me back to my roots. It’s a body of work that’s unapologetically me, and I can’t wait to perform it on tour for you!🖤,” they shared alongside some album art.

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