Demi Lovato and DJ Khaled turn up the positive vibes
The logic of their combination may not have been apparent until October when Demi Lovato announced that DJ Khaled would open her next tour, but the matchup makes sense. Lovato, who released her sixth studio album Tell Me You Love Me in September, has been a millennial poster child for self-improvement and open about her struggles with mental health issues. Khaled, the hit-producing son of Palestinian immigrants, is the pre-eminent motivational speaker of the hip-hop and R&B universe, his trademark tagline “We the best” serving as the go-to name for his various business enterprises. The concert bill will surely create an uplifting, inspirational experience.
Their paths to success couldn’t have contrasted more. Lovato was a child star, culminating in her starring role alongside the Jonas Brothers in the 2008 movie Camp Rock. The transition from Disney to dance floors wasn’t easy. An incident of aggression with a backup dancer on an airplane led to treatment and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Lovato went public about substance abuse as well, a subject she revisits in her 2017 YouTube documentary Simply Complicated. Further evidencing her career recovery, Tell Me You Love Me, the follow-up to her 2015 album Confident, was released in September and reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200 the following month.
“Sorry Not Sorry,” the first single from the album, was released in July and became her second No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Lovato’s flair for the dramatic is in full display on the video for the title track, where she conveys the range of emotions accompanying a relationship that’s entering troubled waters. Khaled, on the other hand, has a predilection for action sequences, as demonstrated by the getaway chase depicted in “It’s Secured.” The song, featuring Nas and Travis Scott, was a single from Grateful, Khaled’s latest musical projection of his positive-mental-attitude approach to life and business.
Persistence is another key to success for the DJ/producer, who formed relationships with Birdman and Lil Wayne in the early ’90s before becoming a professional DJ and relocating from New Orleans to Miami. Khaled’s worked with everyone from Luther Campbell to Jay-Z, and had a star-studded roster appearing on Grateful, which went to No. 2 in July. Mariah Carey, Chance the Rapper, Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj and Rihanna are just a few of the guest stars, with the latter having the honor of appearing alongside Khaled at the Grammys for a live rendition of Grateful’s third single, “Wild Thoughts.”
Khaled is also appearing as a judge in the new Fox singing talent show The Four: Battle for Stardom, alongside Sean Combs and Meghan Trainor. Presumably, he’s done all his tapings for the show prior to the 20 dates he’ll be opening for Lovato, who is paying it forward to fans this year by offering therapy sessions and wellness workshops for free at her shows. Lovato’s personal development coach Mike Bayer will host talks by invited guests, one of which will surely be Khaled—or perhaps his infant son Asahd, who is not only featured on the album art for Grateful but also managed to score an executive producer’s credit.
MGM Grand, 7:30 p.m. March 3, $29.95-$499.95 plus tax and fee. 800.745.3000 Ticketmaster