Fans of Demi Lovato are used to seeing the star perform in massive arenas, but the “Sorry Not Sorry” singer recently gave a select crowd the chance to see her up close and personal. On Friday night, Lovato played an intimate set at the House of Blues Dallas for 2,400 American Airlines AAdvantage Mastercard cardmembers. It’s the second small venue performance that the superstar has given as part of her partnership with the brands.
“It’s really cool that these performances are more intimate because I don’t get to do them very often,” says Lovato. As a music fan herself, she knows how magical it can be to see an artist of her caliber in such a personal setting. “One time I saw Paramore at a really small place in Texas and it was amazing,” she tells Billboard. “I’ve really looked up to Hayley Williams, and being able to see her perform live in an intimate setting was really cool.”
Lovato’s recent House of Blues show has her filled with nostalgia. “Those gigs remind me of my days of doing theater tours,” she says, fondly. She jokes that her early shows were far different than her current norm, especially when it comes to the access of the fans. “One time, I was playing the House of Blues and I actually had a fan sneak into my dressing room when I wasn’t in there. So security wasn’t as tight as it is now, obviously, which is pretty funny,” Lovato recalls. So what happened when the “Cool for the Summer” singer realized her dressing room had been infiltrated? “I walked in and asked who she was and she just froze and got silent,” she says, with a laugh, noting that the fan wasn’t able to compose herself enough to ask for an autograph or a selfie; she was in complete shock over seeing Lovato standing before her in the flesh. “Security rushed her off before she could do anything else,” Lovato adds.
While the star will soon be back to playing amphitheaters, this intimate experience is something that she’s aiming to take with her on her upcoming Tell Me You Love Me tour, which kicks off Feb. 26 in San Diego. “I’m going to utilize the arenas and really make sure that from every seat, you get to see my performance up close and personal, as much as we possibly can,” she says. “I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll definitely be more up close and personal with the audience than I have been before.”
The singer tells Billboard that fans can expect “a lot more production” in her current show. “It will represent who I am as a person and an artist and I can’t wait for this country to see it,” she adds.
Lovato couldn’t be happier about hitting the road with DJ Khaled, an artist she admires. “What I’m most excited about is his energy,” she explains. “I think that he is going to bring a lot to the show, and I think that it is going to be really exciting to see which guests he brings.” Lovato also hinted that there is a chance that the duo may appear together onstage at some point within the evening: “You’ll just have to wait and see,” she teases.
As she preps for her upcoming tour — with “lots of rehearsals and cardio sessions,” Lovato is still trying to digest the fact that “Sorry Not Sorry” recently surpassed 400 million streams on Spotify. “You can’t really wrap your mind around something that big. But it’s really cool and I’m really grateful!” she exclaims. And while she hasn’t given much thought to recording a follow-up to Tell Me You Love Me, the songstress says she’s always thinking about her next musical direction. “Anytime I can get more soulful, the more I vibe with my new music,” she says.
Regardless of what she does professionally, Lovato reveals that she heeds the life-altering advice she was given as a teen: “When I was 15 or 16, I wrote a couple of songs with John Mayer. And he wrote me a letter and it said, ‘Follow your instincts. You have really good instincts.’ Ever since then, I’ve just followed my gut, and it’s really helped me,” she discloses.
Lovato has a big surprise coming her fans’ way. “I did a collaboration with one of my biggest idols. I can’t give away who it is yet, but you’ll find out soon. I can’t wait for the world to hear it. It’s an incredible song.”
She also revealed that she’s been super obsessed with SZA as of late — “I really like her new music” — and that her current dream collaboration is Eminem. “He would be really cool to work with. I think he’s an incredible rapper and we could do some cool stuff together.”