Billboard Women in Music: ‘Rulebreaker’ Demi Lovato

“My 2015 has been incredible,” says Demi Lovato, 23, whose fifth album Confident arrived in November. “People look at me as an artist that has been around for a while, rather than another former Disney star.” Sure enough, Lovato’s most recent record debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, ­bolstered by the coyly bicurious lead single “Cool for the Summer” and the triumphant title track. Even more spectacular, though, was watching Confident’s declaration of self-love at work in her own life. Lovato — who has been frank about her ­struggles with ­addiction, ­depression and body image — never has been afraid to show her ­vulnerabilities. But with the launch of her mental-health campaign “Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health” in May, which led her to speak even more openly about living with bipolar disorder, she also ­showcased her hard-earned self-confidence (even posing nude in an ­unretouched, makeup-free Vanity Fair photo shoot). This was the year Lovato redefined “fearless.”

Celebrity Skin
“The biggest struggle isn’t being a ‘woman in the industry,’ it’s being a ‘celebrity’: People feel entitled to demand things because they feel you belong to them. To me, it’s less about gender and more about fame.”

On Going Nude and Makeup-Free
“The response has been incredible. I’m really glad people understood the meaning and the purpose behind it.”

Ultimate Collaboration
“If I was able to record a song with Kelly Clarkson, that would be a dream come true.”

On Repeat
“Tove Lo’s ‘Talking Body’ and [Hailee Steinfeld’s] ‘Love Myself’ — they’re probably the songs I listened to most this year.”

2015 Highlights
Debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with Confident
Hit No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Cool for the Summer”
Lobbied legislators on behalf of advocacy campaign “Be Vocal”
Released Demi Lovato: Path to Fame mobile app
Visited Sweden twice: “I really enjoyed Stockholm!”

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