In a long and flowing dress, Lovato surged through “Anyone,” a seemingly desperate song she recently revealed she’d written just four days before her near-fatal overdose in July 2018. “I feel stupid when I sing,” she sang, “nobody’s listening to me.”
Alone at the mic and accompanied only by a piano, Lovato had to begin the song again after her an emotional start caught her off guard. Indeed, she sang the song’s beginning with tears streaming down her face. But by the end, a choked-up voice had been replaced with soaring vocals that scratched the rafters of the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Throughout the tune, Lovato used language that spoke directly about her struggles with substance abuse. “Tired of empty conversation cause no one hears me anymore,” she sang amid references to how she “confided in alcohol.” After she wrapped the song’s final notes, the lights turned on to reveal a rapturous response of support from the folks in the room.
Ahead of the show, Lovato opened up to Zane Lowe about the state her mind was in when she penned the song. “I listen back and hear these lyrics as a cry for help,” she admitted. “You kind of listen back to it and you think, how did nobody listen to this song and think, ‘Let’s help this girl?'” A month before her overdose, Lovato released one of her most personal songs to date, “Sober,” in which she made lyrical references to relapsing.
But “Anyone,” with its resolve and sheer vocal power on the Grammys stage, was a powerful statement from an artist who’s spent well over a decade in the showbiz spotlight and has been very public about her struggles with mental health, substance abuse, and an eating disorder. There’s more to come, too; she told Lowe she’s working on a new studio album and that her next song will “tell more of the story.”
After the overdose, Lovato took some much-needed time away to recover. This Grammys performance marks her first public performance since 2018, and she’s not done yet. The 27-year-old powerhouse will also sing the national anthem at Super Bowl LIV next weekend in Miami Gardens.
Until then, watch Lovato’s riveting debut of “Anyone” in the clip above. And find all of MTV News’s 2020 Grammys coverage right here.