“Go on and try to tear me down, I will be rising from the ground – like a Skyscraper!”
On July 5th, I went with my best friend K to Demi Lovato’s concert at the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston. We were both beyond excited; we love everything about Demi Lovato’s music, from her upbeat dance songs to her deep, emotional songs. In addition, ever since she opened up to the public about her struggles with eating disorders, we have looked up to her as a recovery role model. Her documentary “Stay Strong” touched both of us on a personal level, and many of her songs have powerful recovery messages. Some of my favourite lyrics from Demi are:
“If you acknowledge the pain and you want to change, you can get through anything” from “Together”.
“The mirror can lie; doesn’t show you what’s inside” from “Believe in Me”.
“Not gonna be afraid, I’m going to wake up feeling beautiful today. And know that I’m okay, because everyone’s perfect in unusual ways. You see, now I believe in me” from “Believe in Me”.
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And of course, “Go on and try to tear me down, I will be rising from the ground, like a skyscraper” from “Skyscraper”.
When Demi sang “Skyscraper” at her concert, I am not exaggerating to say that it felt like a spiritual experience. Before she sang “Skyscraper”, she gave a moving speech on the importance of raising awareness and seeking help for bullying, eating disorders, self-harm, and addiction, and how she knew some of her fans were going through some of those things. As she spoke, my eyes welled up with tears and I reached for K’s hand and squeezed it tightly. K and I were not the only people in the audience who were emotional; the women in the row in front of us had tears in their eyes and were hugging one another, and so were many people in our row.
When Demi began singing “Skyscraper”, the whole audience began singing along with her. The emotions of passion, pain, and hope were palpable, and for those few minutes, it felt like we were all connected with the desire to stay strong, raise awareness, and bring an end to issues that impact so many people all over the world.
In those few minutes, I no longer felt alone.
I have received many years of vocal training, so I also noticed something interesting about Demi’s performance of “Skyscraper” from a musical standpoint. Demi has been open about the fact that when she first recorded “Skyscraper” for her album, she was very sick with her eating disorders and it affected the quality of her sound. Purging takes an enormous toll on the vocal cords, and it is difficult to reach high notes when you are fatigued from restriction. “Skyscraper” as recorded on her album is still beautiful, but her voice is raspy and not as strong as it usually is. Demi re-recorded it when she returned from treatment and it sounded much better, but she chose to keep the original version because it represented her message of staying strong amidst extreme adversity.
When she sang “Skyscraper” at her concert, however, there was nothing about her voice that suggested illness. Her tone was clear and her sound was powerful; she sounded healthy and strong. Whereas the first time Demi recorded “Skyscraper” it sounded like an anthem of hope amidst pain, this time “Skyscraper” sounded like an anthem of triumph.
The first recording sent the message of, “I am beginning this journey and I am trying to be strong”, and this most recent performance sent the message of, “I am overcoming my struggles and I know I am strong.”
Remember- you are not alone in your struggles and you can and will overcome them. A personal struggle or someone unhealthy in your life may be trying to tear you down, but you will always rise from the ground like a skyscraper.
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